International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day (Friday 8th March), we celebrate and acknowledge remarkable women who have made a significant impact on the wine industry. Breaking through societal norms and pushing boundaries, these nine women have used their passion, knowledge, and creativity to shape the future of winemaking. From different corners of the globe, they are a source of inspiration for generations to come.

Montse Molina’s love for Manzanilla

Montse Molina woman in wine Barbadillo

Manzanilla is truly a passion for Montse Molina, the skilled winemaker at Barbadillo who deeply values the rich heritage and culture of her wine region. With a remarkable 25 years of experience at the company, she still exudes the love and dedication for the palomino grape that she had when she first started. After earning a degree in oenology and viticulture from Catalunya University, Montse began her career as a winemaker. While her expertise lies primarily in Manzanilla, she also creates exceptional table wines using the palomino grape. For her, Manzanilla is the ultimate partner to any meal, especially with dishes that have a touch of vinegar or salt. She enjoys pairing it with international cuisine like sushi, particularly those featuring seafood as the main component.

Alice Tétienne, The lady of Champagne

Alice Tétienne – Cellar Master Henriot Champagne

Despite her young age, Alice Tétienne, who was born and raised in Champagne, has already worked at some of the top Champagne houses and currently holds the position of Cellar Master and Vineyard Director at Champagne Henriot. The wine business doesn’t always showcase women in leadership, but Champagne Henriot defies this trend. The brand’s strong female presence dates back to 1808, when Apolline Henriot founded the Maison Henriot. In 2020 Alice was awarded ‘Cellar Master of the Year’ by Trophées Champenois, in recognition of her exceptional work

Jennifer Doyle, a champion of sustainability in Tasmania

Jennifer Dolye woman in wine Jansz

Jennifer Doyle is the viticulturalist and winemaker at Jansz Tasmania. Her inspiring approach to viticulture and winemaking has influenced Jansz sparkling wines for over 15 years, making her an incredible ambassador for Jansz Tasmania and the wider Tasmanian wine industry.   Sustainability is close to Jennifer’s heart. She began exploring alternative methods of managing pests and diseases early in her career, realising the multi-faceted value of protecting and enhancing biological diversity. Jennifer’s 2012 Sustainable Viticulture Fellowship study tour further inspired this pathway. Today, her strong empathy for sustainability and environment is reflected in the company’s vineyards practices. Within the Jansz estate, 85ha have been set aside as Conservation Covenant land, while flowering plants and native shrubs have been panted in the vineyard to encourage indigenous insects that control insect pests.  

Virginia Willcock mastering Australia’s finest wines

Women in wine 2024 Virginia Willcock image

Virginia Willcock is the genius behind some of Australia’s finest wines. As the Chief Winemaker at Vasse Felix, the winery founded by Dr Tom Cullity in 1967 in Western Australia’s Margaret River region, she is widely recognised for her expert knowledge of the classic Margaret River varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Since she joined Vasse Felix as Chief Winemaker in October 2006, she has been twice nominated for Australian Gourmet Traveller ‘Winemaker of the Year’ and was awarded the trophy for ‘Winemaker of the Most Outstanding Red or White Wine in Show’ at the 2011 Royal Adelaide Wine Show.

Louisa Rose, the legacy of a winemaker

Louisa Rose – Pewsey Vale, Eden Valley, South Australia

For over two decades, Louisa Rose has been an integral member of the Yalumba team, earning a respected reputation as one of the top winemakers in the world. Her unwavering dedication to creating exceptional Australian wines shines through in every aspect of her work. She is most recognised for her pioneering efforts with Viognier and redefining perceptions of Barossa Shiraz, receiving numerous accolades along the way. At Yalumba, Louisa plays many roles: award-winning winemaker, esteemed wine judge, valuable board member, and natural leader. She serves as a role model within Australia’s wine industry and embodies Yalumba’s progressive approach to winemaking. Balancing tradition and innovation, she carries a great responsibility that she has honed since her first vintage at Yalumba in 1992.

Julia Jackson, a journey to sustainable winemaking

Julia Jackson woman in wine cambria

A second-generation vintner of Jackson Family Wines, Julia is the daughter of Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke. Raised on the family’s mountain vineyards in Sonoma County, she has a deep respect for nature and sees herself as a custodian of the land. She has been involved in the business from an early age. “Whether picking grapes in 100-degree weather, or working harvests at wineries around the world, my dad always made sure we appreciated that being successful takes hard work”.  Driven by her passion for protecting the environment, Julia founded Grounded, a summit and foundation that promotes sustainable practices and through strategic partnerships with organisations like the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, she strives to bridge the gap between people and the planet.

Cristina Torres, leading Marimar Estate

Cristina Torres woman in wine Marimar

Growing up in Spain in the 1950’s Marimar Torres was one of the first women to challenge the idea of a female becoming a recognised wine maker in her own right. She is also one of only a few women to establish their own wineries outside of their native country. She attributes her success to the location she has chosen for her winery in the cool microclimate of the Russian River Green Valley appellation, together clonal selection and small-scale production – all of which have contributed to an award-winning selection of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir based wines. Her daughter, Cristina – fifth-generation member of the Torres family – has followed in her mother’s footsteps having been immersed in the vineyard’s traditions from a very young age. She recently took on the role of General Manager—an important transition as the baton is handed down from mother to daughter.

Christiana von Arnim, the first lady of wine

Christiana von Arnim CEO of Warwick

As the CEO of Warwick Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, Christiana von Arnim continues the legacy of ‘The First Lady of South African wine’ inspired by Norma Ratcliffe, the Cape’s first woman winemaker and creator of Warwick’s first vintage in 1984. A Stellenbosch University MBA Graduate, Christiana joined Warwick in 2018, bringing with her an impressive track record of wine business experience and marketing prowess after successful stints at various high-profile South African estates. Her ambition to prove the world-class quality of Warwick, as well as South Africa as a wine-growing region as a whole is alive and well in this new generation of feminine leadership further elevated by Christiane’s vibrant unflustered optimism, determination and unmistakable finesse.

Arlene Mains, the rising star

Arlene Vilafonte woman of wine image

Arlene has been fascinated by the landscape of Stellenbosch from early years, having grown up in Cape Town. She embarked on a BSc in Viticulture & Oenology at Stellenbosch University, and in 2014 completed a Masters in Wine Biotechnology with the focus on natural and wild yeast fermentation. After a three-month harvest internship at Opus One in California she ended up staying for a year under the tutelage of winemaker Michael Silacci before transferring to Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac. Today, she is a winemaker for Vilafonté, responsible for Seriously Old Dirt – a Cabernet-based blend, sourced from across the Cape, described as “regionally agnostic but soil specific”.