Celebrate International Women Winemakers

02 March 2022

Tuesday 8th March 2022 is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate all kinds of achievements by women throughout the world, including the many women winemakers. It still seems to come as a surprise to some that women make wine, which mystifies me since I believe that there should be equal numbers of men and women involved in wine production. Doubtless the difference has a historical basis, since the early wine producers were small family concerns, and there was perhaps a need for strength in handling vats and barrels, more suited to male physique.

Happily, in more recent times, the ability of women to make outstanding wine is now widely recognised and International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate their achievements. With modern equipment and technology, men and women are on an equal footing in the world of wine and the results are equally impressive. Top winemaking can be considered an artform as much as a science, and women are ideally placed to harness the full potential of a vineyard’s production capability, producing expressive wines of subtlety, complexity and elegance.

Mathilde Chapoutier, in her twenties, is the eighth generation of winemakers of M. Chapoutier, one of the foremost quality wine producers of the Rhone Valley. She brings global insight, innovative thought and the vision of a new generation to this fabulous company. Already widely travelled, her aim is to make top quality wines which are expressive and pleasurable. Mathilde Chapoutier Selection Cotes du Rhone 2020 is a blend of Syrah and Grenache, brimming with ripe red berry fruit. Velvety soft, it has great underlying power and structure, is vegan friendly and has no added sulphites, ticking many boxes for the modern consumer. Around £16 per bottle from independent merchants, such as Fine Wines of Mayfield, or The Wine Reserve in Cobham.

Catherine Corbeau-Mellot is the owner and general manager of the 500-year-old wine producer Joseph Mellot in the central Loire region, one of Sancerre’s largest and most prestigious producers. Joseph Mellot Sancerre 2020 La Gravelière is a rich and complex wine, fully expressing the magic of the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. An elegant wine, with floral and tropical fruit hints on the nose, leading to a structured and balanced fruit palate and a fresh finish. £20 from Morrisons.

Helen Morrison is a senior winemaker at Villa Maria in Marlborough, the foremost producer of New Zealand wines, joining the team in 2014. Originally working in the travel and banking industries in Europe and the UK, she found her true calling with a degree in oenology at Lincoln University NZ. Helen has brought a fresh insight to the winemaking at Villa Maria, with innovation and advancement encouraged by the founder, Sir George Fistonich. With great attention to detail and a passion for quality, Helen is responsible for making some of the best wines in the Villa Maria portfolio. Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2021 is bursting with tropical fruit aromas and flavours, with mango, guava, pineapple and a touch of asparagus. Good balancing acidity with juicy fruit on the palate and a refreshing finish. Majestic and Morrisons, between £12 and £15.