Women Winemakers: A Cut Above

Not to say “Nanny nanny boo boo!” to the boys – but we will 😉 It turns out women winemakers rule!

What?

According to a study published by Dr. Lucia Albino Gilbert, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University, and her husband, John Gilbert, Ph.D., wines produced from California wineries that have women winemakers are more highly acclaimed (proportional to their presence in the field) than those that have male winemakers.

How did they figure it out?

Drs. Gilbert used two sources of data. One was the California winery comprehensive database of 3,200+ winemakers developed for their first study. The second data source was evidence of winery quality, which was obtained by using the listing of wineries from Opus Vino (2010), a widely cited and credible source of winery quality.

Who to look out for? 

Ready to taste what women winemakers have to offer? We found this list from Cru Wine Online. Click the link to read the full bios.

1. Helen Turley  She currently makes wines under her own label, Maracassin, a California Cult style wine that regularly receives outstanding ratings by wine critics.

2. Merry Edwards makes award-winning Pinot Noir under her own Merry Edwards label. She is a pioneer in California Pinot Noir, so much so that UCD Pinot Noir Clone 37 is also called “Merry Edwards Selection” for the work she did on it.
3. Sally Johnson Today she makes wine for Pride Mountain Vineyards in Sonoma County where, like the other females on this top ten list, her wines have received international attention from wine critics from the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast to Wine & Spirits and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.
4. Heidi Barret Currently she is making wine for eight wineries, including her own, La Sierna. She has been deemed by Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate as the “First Lady of Wine.” Heidi is married to Bo Barret, winemaker at Chateau Montelena (Bottle Shock).
5. Susana Balbo She has started her own line of wines that bear her name on the label.
6. Cecilia Torres is the head winemaker for Vina Santa Rita in Chile. She is the woman behind #57 on the 2009 Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines List.
7. Vanya Cullen is the head winemaker at Cullen Wines in Western Australia. Her wines have received attention from wine critics across the globe including 90+ point ratings from the Wine Spectator.
8. Alexia Luca de Tena is the head winemaker for Bodegas Agnusdei in Spain. Her world-class Albarino has received international attention, and she continues to push the envelope creating high-quality wine for the price. Alexia is a pioneer in the modern Spanish wine scene.
9. Isabelle Baratin-Canet manages the production of the infamous Chateau Grillet, the AOC/winery in the northern Rhone region of France. Chateau Grillet is one of only two single-estate appellations in France. They are well known for producing arguably the finest Viognier in the world. Isabelle’s family has operated the winery since the 1830’s.
10. Pascale Peyronie is the owner and winemaker at Chateau Fonbadet in Bordeaux, France. Peyronie marks the fourth generation of this family-owned and operated winery. She is one of only a few female winemakers in the Paulliac sub-region of Bordeaux.

Want to read more about it? www.womenwinemakers.com

*Photo Credit: Domaine Carneros Wine – made by another favorite woman winemaker Eileen Crane.

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