IWD 2021

March 8, 2021

It's International Women's Day, and so we thought we'd take the time to shed light on some of the women making wine in the industry. The winemaking industry continues to be largely dominated by men; a report in Bloomberg last year highlighted a study that found that "only 10% of California’s more than 4,000 wineries have female head winemakers, and women own only 4% of them."

There have been women who've left their mark on the wine industry; take, for example, Madame Clicquot (née) Ponsardin. When she was widowed in 1805, Madame Ponsardin was left in charge of the Champagne estate which, to this day, carries her maiden name in its title: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. And there are also those who've been included in the Wine List monthly boxes, including this month's red wine, Ruen 2018; Gergana Manolova runs the vineyard with her father, Stoyan, in Bulgaria, where they're continuing a family tradition of winemaking that dates back to the 19th century.

Likewise, our February white wine, Gavi Marchesi Spinola DOCG, 2019, is made by Massimiliana Spinola, who inherited the 14th century Castello di Tassarolo Winery in Italy from her father. After years of traditional farming, she inherited a vineyard in need of some TLC. She turned their winemaking on its head by going fully organic and biodynamic. Like Spinola, Fiona Leroy is a French winemaker who is committed to producing organic and biodynamic wines. The first vintage of her red Burgundy from 2018 is a truly wonderful example of Fiona's "common-sense" approach to winemaking which involves manual work and no new oak barrels.

And so, aspart of our IWD 2021 celebrations, Isabelle has been tasting other wines by women winemakers, and featured below are three French wines that we love.

Virginie Berthuit

Ormarine Conchylia Picpoul de Pinet 2019

M&S, £9

This picpoul de pinet is made by winemakers Marie Lefebvre and Virginie Berthuit in the Languedoc region of France. Berthuit is in her 15th vintage with Ormarine, the leading producer of this wine. This is elegant and mouth-watering; full of white flowers and salinity. This saltiness reflects the nearby saltwater lagoon and the Mediterranean sea, and makes it a perfect accompaniment for seafood. Find out more

Marie Toussaint

Crémant de Limoux Brut, Tholomies, La Baume NV 

Oxford Wine Company, £11.99

Winemaker Marie Toussaint makes wine for Les Grands Chais de France in the Languedoc-Roussillon. This crémant is made in the same traditional method as Champagne, but is called crémant because it's not made in the Champagne region. 'Crémant' is always followed by the place it's made, giving this delightful sparkling wine it's name: Crémant de Limoux. It's made from 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc, and it's aged for a minimum of 15 months in bottle. Find out more

Claire Clavel

Domaine Clavel Syrius CDR Villages St Gervais 2017

Ake + Humphris, £10.99

Claire Clavel’s family have been winemakers since the 17th century, and she now runs the family estate, Domaine Clavel. Claire is an advocate for sustainable agriculture and is also part of a school of thought that believes the moon influences the different stages of wine production. This red Rhône blend is made using 70% grenache and 30% syrah grapes, which are grown in vineyards around the village of St Gervais. This wine is full-bodied and has a long finish, with juicy black fruits and sweet spice. Find out more

Watch Isabelle taste these wines:

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