Winemaking has historically been a profession dominated my men. Today, only about 10% of winemakers in California, as an example, are women. Though statistics for the rest of the world, and specifically South America, are fuzzy at best, anecdotal evidence suggests that 10% number applies across the wine industry. For a first-hand account of what it's like to work as a woman in many different parts of the wine industry, check out this eye-opening and thought-provoking blog post one of our managing catadoras, Claire, wrote for Women's History Month.
Better yet, look no further than Portugal and Chile, where the two winemakers we spotlight in this month’s Wine Club hail from. Their commitment to their craft, and the exceptional quality of their wine’s, both inspire us to excellence. We’re delighted to know that these two will inspire other women to bring their passion, talents and dedication to winemaking.
Rita Ferreira of Conceito
Considered a rising star by Wine & Spirits back in 2011, Rita has not faltered in the face of high expectations. After studying enology at the University of Bordeaux, Rita worked harvests all over the globe, from South Africa to New Zealand. Under her label Conceito, she has made wine in both these countries. Her ability to work in different environments, with different grapes, and under differing approaches and philosophies, speaks to her talent and open mind. Since her first batch back in 2006, Rita has spent her career demolishing expectations and forging her own path.
Her wine - Conceito Contraste White Blend 2010
For the wine club, we chose Rita's Contraste white blend from 2010. The wine is an Indicative blend from the Douro Valley, made with Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Códega, Viosinho, and Gouveio. Rita aged 25% of the batch in oak for 6 months, the other 75% in stainless steel tanks. This maintains the freshness while adding a bit of structure and ageing potential. This explains why 8 years later the wine tastes so good. The joy of the wine comes in its decidedly mineral driven flavor profile and its sightly waxy texture. Also expect a slightly nutty quality due to its age and time in oak. The finish has a pleasant herbal note that resembles celery seed.
Andrea Leon of Lapostolle
It’s not hard to tell that Andrea knows her stuff. Have a look at this amazing interview she did for Grape Collective for proof.
In this interview, Andrea shares how Lapostolle, through the vision and leadership of another woman, founder Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, came to embrace biodynamic vineyard management. She also highlights the importance of letting the fruit do the bulk of the work. She does use oak ageing, but with a degree of tact and finesse often lacking in the wine world. Andrea's depth of knowledge and experience leads to exceptional quality and value in her wines. There’s a reason Lapostolle is one of our favorite producers.
Her Wine - Lapostolle Red Blend 2013
Honestly, we could have chosen any wine from Lapostolle and used it in our wine club. Andrea is that consistent. In the end, it was the red blend that we just couldn’t get out of our heads. 28% syrah, 23% carmenère, 22% merlot, 25% cabernet sauvignon, and 2% cab franc, this wine has a supple mouth-feel and soft tannins. The fruit profile is detailed and present without being dominant. The nose gives red and black fruit alongside spices such as clove, cinnamon and peppercorn. It goes great with barbecue pork ribs.
We hope you enjoy these incredible wines, each crafted by super talented and hard-working women. As usual, we will release these wines the last Sunday of the month, which is February 25th. See you then!