The theme for 2021 International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge”. The wine world is not bereft of its challenges in equality, BIPOC, and sexism. This past year has seen an uprising, long overdue, that is challenging those same certification bodies, in which we study and aspire to, to do better. I won’t go into that here, as there are many who are more well versed in the situation. What I will touch on are a few women who are involved either by ownership or winemaking, and that you can go out and buy their product now in New Brunswick.
Disclaimer – This is not meant as an exhaustive list of wineries where woman play a role. This was a look at the selection of wines available at ANBL (that is the liquor corporation in New Brunswick for those who may be ready from elsewhere) and that I could confirm women played key decision roles.
Of Note: There is no timely way I could go through all the wines available at ANBL so I reached out to several acquaintances who are agents and this is where my list began to help me on my quest.
Jody Bogle is the Director of Public Relations and 3rd generation winegrower. Not initially interested in the winery, a teacher, she returned after the death of her father in 1997 and found new interest in the then recently opened tasting room. Jody developed many of the programs at the winery including the Bandwagon Wine Club (unfortunately they do not offer shipping to Canada). If that wasn’t enough, she also manages international sales of Bogle wines in 40 countries.
Dana Stemmler has been a winemaker at Bogle for the last decade, named assistant winemaker in 2010 she rose through the ranks quickly (5 years). Fortunately, a trip to Italy in 2000 was enough to make her change colleges and follow her dream.
Wine to look for: Bogle Chardonnay $25.99 (being used in our virtual tasting)
Louisa Rose is the Head of Winemaking at Yalumba, a role which she quietly stepped into in 2006 after having worked there since 1993. A few focus areas, one is the use of natural yeast and bacteria to make the wines. Since the 2012 vintage, no animal fining agents have been used. (aka vegan wines) Having many accolades to her name, in 2020 she was honoured with the The Signature 2016 for having made a significant contribution to Yalumba.
Wine to look for: Yalumba The Y Series Shiraz Viognier $17.99 (being used in our virtual tasting)
Quinta de la Rosa
Sophia Bergqvist, along with her father Tim and brother Philip relaunched Quinta de las Rosa in 1988 and became the 6th generation directly involved in the port trade. Sophia oversees the day to day operations. Sophia created a “Port Futures” initiative – think kickstarter campaign, where they offered an amount of port for funds; Tim realized the Quinta de la Rosa grapes they were selling to another house were no longer being appreciating for the quality. Sophia then started building a network of importers and by 2011 they are exporting to over 30 countries.
Wine to look for: Quinta de la Rosa Tawny $27.00 (being used in our virtual tasting)
Robert Mondavi Winery
Geneviève Janssens worked at the winery on and off after moving to the United States. Currently Geneviève is the Director of Winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery, and has been since 1997. 1n 2000, she helped to implement the To Kalon Project; a fermentation cellar suitable for winemaking complementing the historic To Kalon Vineyards.
Wine to look for: Robert Mondavi Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon $64.99
Chateau La Canorgue
Nathalie Margan now runs Chateau la Canorgue which has been in their family for around 200 years and had become a dilapidated castle re-envisioned to be an organic vineyard by her parents in 1970. She is now a 5th generation wine grower. Although, it was once used as a scene from “A Good Year”, enough is enough and the focus is on wines.
Wine to look for: Chateau La Canorgue Rouge $29.99
Amanda Johnson is Managing Director of Spy Valley and is also the daughter of the founding family. Committed to sustainability, she has always envisioned being part of the family business.
Wendy Stuckey is Chief Winemaker for Spy Valley, joining the team in 2019. She has many accolades to her name and has been involved with several brands we know well, even in our NB market, over the last few decades.
Wine to look for: Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc $20.99
Spanish wines seem to have more women wine makers (do they?) and a few of them, that I’m aware of and are available in NB include:
Bodega Camp Viejo
Elena Adell is the Chief Winemaker and has been with Campo Viejo since 1998
Irene Pérez, Senior Winemaker 2016
Elena Suárez, Junior Winemaker 2019
Rocío Osborne, owner and 6th generation winegrower of Montecillo
Mercedes Garcia is the Chief Winemaker
Marta Casas is the owner and Chief Winemaker of Pares Balta
If you made it this far – again – this is not to be seen as an exhaustive list. Through my studies, I have be introduced to very few women in wine but I know there are more out there and I was curious how many might have products available on our local shelves. Interest and curiosity need to start somewhere, like a thread you can’t help but to pull to unravel all that there is.
xo ~ Charlotte