2017 will long be remembered for the #MeToo movement, and rightly so.
In the world of wine, however, women have been making their mark for decades — some as winery owners, some in winery management, some as vineyard managers and some as winemakers.
Here are four who have crafted wines featured by Vinesse in the not-too-distant past…
* KATE RADBURND — In the great scheme of things, all that a winemaker really has is their reputation. It’s something that can take years, even decades, to develop, because the opportunity to craft new cuvees of wine comes only once each year. That’s why the story of Kate Radburnd is so unusual… and so impressive. In a relatively short period of time, she has gained a reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest winemakers. The awards her wines have garnered — well over a hundred gold medals since she began her career — tell only part of the story. Radburnd was a key player in the development of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand program, an endeavor that has benefited all grape growers and wine estates that have embraced it. She also has volunteered time to other industry organizations, helping to spread the word about the ever-improving quality of New Zealand wines. Hers is a reputation well earned.
* DARCY PENDERGRASS — The Detour label is a collaboration between sommelier Andrew Stover and winemaker Darcy Pendergrass with the goal of crafting classically styled wines. One key to achieving that goal for Pendergrass is to have perfectly ripened grapes with which to work in the cellar, obtained dependably from vineyards that are sustainably farmed. Sustainable farming is a wide-ranging practice that includes stewardship of natural and human resources, the conservation and protection of water sources, embracing and welcoming a diversity of wildlife (rather than attempting to destroy it), using renewable energy sources, and minimizing or eliminating the harmful impact of agricultural activities on air and soil. All of that attention to detail in the vineyard produces grapes to which Pendergrass can lend her exceptional talents as a winemaker.
* ANALIA LAZANEO and VALENTINA GATTI — Canelones, situated about 30 miles north of the seaside capital city of Montevideo, is Uruguay’s premier winegrowing region. Artesana is located on an 80-acre estate in Canelones’ Las Brujas area. There, sustainable, low-input, dry farming is practiced, and an integrated pest management system is embraced. The entire vineyard is farmed by hand — no machinery is used. This not only helps sustain the land for the near-term as well as future generations, it produces perfectly healthy and fully ripened grapes each growing season. That’s music to the ears of the two-woman winemaking team of Analia Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti, both born in Uruguay. Gatti spent some time in California, working at the Simi and Frank Family wineries, where she learned a lot about growing and making Zinfandel.