This year, International Women’s Day is on March 8. The aim is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Like many industries the world of wine has historically been heavily male influenced.
But, thankfully, the times, they are a' changing.
Women are making significant strides in the wine industry, challenging traditional gender roles, and making an impact on the global wine landscape. From winemakers to vineyard managers, women are playing key roles in all aspects of the trade.
Cecile Dardanelli, Collette O'Leary, and Julia Halupczok are just three of the many talented women winemakers we work with that are helping to shape the future of winemaking.
Cecile Dardanelli, Domaine Bel Avenir
Cecile Dardanelli is a winemaker in the Beaujolais region of France, where she produces elegant and complex wines at Domaine Bel Avenir. Dardanelli is known for her dedication to sustainable farming practices and her meticulous attention to detail in the winemaking process. She has won critical acclaim for her wines, which showcase the unique terroir of the region.
Her commitment to natural and organic winemaking practices is an inspiration to others in the industry, and her wines are worth seeking out.
Domaine Bel Avenir Fleurie “Poncie” 2020 (from £14.85) is a good example of Dardanelli's wine, made in the typical floral style of this top Beaujolais Cru. Strawberry and cherry fruit flavours are accompanied by subtle aromas of undergrowth with a little pepper spice on the finish.
Discover the full range from Domaine Bel Avenir.
Collette O'Leary, Henners Vineyard
Collette O'Leary is the head winemaker at Henners Vineyard in England, where she focuses on producing high-quality sparkling wines using the traditional method (sometimes referred to as the Champagne Method). O'Leary's wines have won numerous awards, and she is renowned for mentoring and supporting the next generation of winemakers.
O'Leary studied Viticulture & Oenology at the UK’s prestigious Plumpton College and then worked in wineries in New Zealand, California and South Africa to hone her winemaking skills. When she joined Henners, O'Leary could immediately see the potential in Sussex for growing extraordinary winemaking grapes, particularly where the Henners hectares are nestled in the South Downs.
Representative of her style, Henners Brut NV (from £34.50) is a blend made from the triumvirate of English sparkling wine grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Its been aged on its lees for 3 years to produce an elegant, refined fizz with great balance and delicious flavours of lemon and apple.
Discover the full range from Henners Vineyard.
Julia Halupczok, Finca Sophenia
Julia Halupczok is a winemaker in Mendoza, Argentina, where she has helped establish Finca Sophenia as one of the leading wineries in the region. Working in the high-altitude Tupungato Valley, Halupczok's wines have filled the winery trophy cabinet to overflowing. She is committed to sustainable farming practices and to showcasing the unique characteristics of the region.
In 2019, Halupczok was named Newcomer Winemaker of the Year by the German wine magazine Vinum. She has also been featured in numerous wine publications, including Wine & Spirits Magazine and Decanter.
Halupczok's entry level Altosur Malbec 2021 (from £13.95) was awarded Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022. Decanter described the colour as "saturatedly dense" and the aromas as "beefy" and "plummy". They went on say it possessed "admirable weight" and "notable energy" and "charm." It’s rare to find a 97 point wine for such good value.
Discover the full range from Finca Sopehnia.
These women, among many others, are breaking barriers and changing perceptions in an industry that has long been male-dominated. Their dedication to sustainability and innovation, combined with their deep knowledge of the winemaking process, is helping to shape the future of the industry. That's something we can all raise a glass to!