by Joe Norris

Uncorking the stories of extraordinary women in winemaking

Uncorking the stories of extraordinary women in winemaking

Historically the wine industry has been very male dominated, however in recent years thankfully we have seen this change for the better. We are extremely proud to work with some of the industry’s best female winemakers across the globe and here are a few of the ones that really stand out.

Nora Iriarte – Head Winemaker at Cramele Recas

Nora Iriarte is a Head Winemaker and has been at Cramele Recas since 2008. She’s grown into a fundamental member of the team and has built a strong team of fellow female winemakers. Before joining Cramele Recas, she trained at the University of Bordeaux. After graduating from the university, she continued to study until she started her career at various chateaus in Bordeaux. She moved on to complete research at the University of Bordeaux in the wine industry. The call back to work led her to Bodegas LAN in Rioja, Spain where she worked for many years. After a successful time there she joined the Cramele Recas team and hasn’t looked back since.

A major achievement of the company is linked to its production value chain – full modernisation and well-known winemakers, like Hartley Smithers, Nora Iriarte and Florin Voloaca. In 2020, Hartley and Nora were listed among the top 100 winemakers internationally by the UK publication The Drinks Business.

Patricia Miranda-Taylor – Winemaker at Wither Hills New Zealand

Born in Chile, Patricia brings flair to Wither Hills team. Patricia left Chile with the aim to learn languages and winemaking techniques from around the globe. After travelling for several years across eleven winemaking countries, New Zealand finally became home.

Aside from her passion for making craft wine (especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), she loves spending time helping others especially being the Charity Ambassador of Wither Hills. Patricia has a daughter Sienna with her British husband Dan, she enjoys travelling around the world with her family, sailing, cooking and dancing.1

Jo Nash – Tahbilk General Manager/ Chief Winemaker at McPhersons Winery

Joanne Nash was born in Avenel in Central Victoria, a small country town, ninety minutes’ drive north of Melbourne, Australia. Avenel is just fifteen minutes from the Tahbilk Winery and Vineyards.

Like so many young Australians, after completing her schooling, Jo headed abroad on a working holiday. While travelling around Europe with her friends Jo began exploring the great joys of wine. After many months of research and self-education in the wine bars of England, France, Spain and Italy, Jo headed home to Australia to return to study. Her love of science was already established, and through wine she discovered the fascinating concept of combining art and science to create magic in a bottle. While completing her winemaking degree she joined McPherson Wines as the Assistant Winemaker.

McPherson Wines immediately recognised her potential and in 2008, after she graduated from Charles Sturt University, appointed her as Winemaker. The combination of art and science that captured her heart at the beginning continues to drive her passion to make the best wine possible out of every vintage. With Alister Purbrick planning his retirement effective at the end of June 2022, Jo was promoted from within The Tahbilk Group and appointed as General Manager of Tahbilk in 2021 to ensure a smooth management transition.

Today Jo manages all facets of the Tahbilk Winery and Estate operations, McPherson Wines and Four Sisters. Jo retains her passion for Winemaking as the Chief Winemaker, she spearheads a talented team of winemakers, guiding them in crafting exceptional and groundbreaking wines that garner global recognition.2

McPhersons Winery - women in winemaking

Paula Fandino – Winemaker at Mar de Frades Spain

Since she was very young, Paula’s passion has been the countryside and vines. Her winegrowing culture was passed down to her by her ancestors. Qualifying as a Technical Agricultural Engineer at the University of Santiago de Compostela, she is specialised in the branch of Agricultural and Food Industries, and is also an Agricultural Engineer, specialising in the fields of winegrowing and enology.

Under her direction, Mar de Frades has become one of Spain’s wineries of reference, and one of the most prestigious white wine brands in the sector, receiving multiple awards for both its wines and for Paula Fandiño herself, who in December of 2016 was named one of the most influential female enologists in Spain by the prestigious British magazine Drinks Business.3

Francesca Planeta – Winemaker at Planeta Sicily

Francesca Planeta was born in Palermo, from a family committed for seventeen generations in innovation in agriculture; Francesca’s father, Diego Planeta, was one of the main architects of the Sicilian wine renaissance.

Since 1995, together with her cousins Alessio and Santi, she has led the Planeta company. After two masters in business communication – in London and Milan – her first job was in the marketing division of Nestlè. In 1995 Francesca Planeta chose to return to Sicily to participate in the creation of the family winery, thus putting into play not only her professional vocation, competence and experience, but also the desire to share the great project to relaunch Sicilian wine in an international context.

From the very beginning, Francesca took on the responsibility of the company’s marketing and communication; more recently, assuming the leadership with the position of president,  she created Planeta Estate s.r.l., which has as its mission the management and development of both the company’s real estate assets and the entire hospitality sector; today Planeta Estate operates in Palermo, in the family palace, and in the vineyards production sites: Menfi, Vittoria, Noto, Etna and Capo Milazzo.

So as you see some extraordinary women creating fantastic brands and wines for our portfolio, as the wine industry continues to develop and expand we look forward to continuing our growth with these superb wineries.

Learn more about our wine offering here: Wholesale wine suppliers & distributors – Bidfood

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