Today’s International Women’s Day and as a female-led company run mostly by women, it means much to us as we join force to celebrate the core spirits of this day: celebrating women’s achievements, increasing visibility of women and forging a gender equal world. Team WWX takes this chance to pay tribute to female winemakers of the world. The business of wines has seen increasing equality when it comes to participation of men and women. Traditional regions like Champagne is breaking away from the traditionally male-dominant scene, with leading houses like Perrier Jouet, Krug, Gosset and more appointing female cellarmasters. In a region steeped in history and traditions like Burgundy, the founding of female focus organization Femmes & Vins de Bourgogne since year 2000 provides not only a sense of solidarity among female winemakers in Burgundy, but also promotes equality as a whole such that wine styles are not classified by gender, specifically wines made by women do not by default be deemed feminine.
In younger New World regions, female winemakers have left trailblazing influences on the developments of their respective wine regions. Cathy Corison, being the first winemaker-proprietor of Napa Valley, is a living proof on how passion and perseverance can lead one to greatness, against all odds. She began making wines in Napa in the 1970s when the valley’s cellars were almost entirely run by men. To celebrate International Women’s Day, here’s 4 New World female winemakers that have devoted a lot of their time and efforts towards making wines of character and quality. Their dedication have created, and sustained, global fame and demand for the wineries they work for or own. Try their works of passion if you have not.
Ata Rangi, Martinborough, New Zealand
Wines made by Helen Masters since 2003, who was named Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine’s New Zealand Winemaker of the Year in 2019.
2008 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, 6 x 75cl
HKD 500 per bottle
The 2008 Pinot Noir presents a more delicate nose of raspberries, some kirsch plus floral notes of roses. Framed by a vibrant acid line and low to medium levels of very fine tannins, it finishes long, elegant and fine. A winery that really needs no introduction for NZ Pinot lovers, there’s not much for me to add about the long-serving, dedicated team behind Ata Rangi – they just go from strength to strength. The Pinots have always been great, and yet even in a world where the Pinot benchmark gets higher every year, Ata Rangi is better than ever. (Almost equally impressive though are Petrie and Craighall Chardonnays, clearly getting a lot of love in the cellar from highly skilled winemaker Helen Masters. WA92
Yarra Yering, Yarra Valley, Australia
Wines made by Sarah Crowe since 2013, who was named Winemaker of the Year for 2017 by James Halliday. She spent 10+ years making wines in Hunter Valley before moving to Yarra.
2012 Yarra Yering Carrodus Cabernet Merlot, 6 x 75cl
HKD 1,244 per bottle
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2012 Merlot offers enticing notes of spiced mulberries, blackberry preserves and black cherry compote with Christmas cake and cigar box nuances plus a hint of mocha. Medium-bodied, ripe and elegant in the mouth, it coats the palate with spicy black fruit preserves that are well-framed by grainy tannins and finish long and with a lovely lift. WA92
Mullineux Wines, Swartland, South Africa
2012 Mullineux Syrah Schist 6 x 75cl
HKD 970 per bottle
Wines made by Andrea Mullineux since 2007, when Mullineux and her husband Chris founded the winery and settled in Swartland region. Andrea was named 2016 International Winemaker of the Year in 2016.
The 2012 Mullineux Schist Syrah has a more feminine bouquet than the Granite Syrah, perhaps a little more harmonious with blackberry, chalk, redder fruit and perhaps less floral than the Granite Syrah. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent and fleshier tannins than the Granite. It is underpinned by a taut line of acidity and is blessed with a very harmonious and satin-like smooth finish that lingers in the mouth, the minerality coming through on the aftertaste. This is a stunning Syrah from Chris and Andrea and their finest 2012. WA95
Lapostolle – Clos Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Wines made by Andrea Leon in the role of Technical Director since 2017. Andrea Leon has been with the Lapostolle team since 2005 where she gradually progress from part of the oenology team to today’s directorship role.
2014 Lapostolle Clos Apalta 6 x 75cl
HKD 786 per bottle
The 2014 Clos Apalta is composed of 48% Carmenère, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot and has lots of tannins and some astringency. It really suffers when compared with the 2015, which feels longer and has a different quality of tannins, but I prefer both to the 2013. This matured in 100% new French oak barrels for 26 months. 62,388 bottles were filled in June 2016. WA93