We love wine, we love womxn, we love drinking wine with the womxn we love… What we aren’t so ga-ga about? The lack of attention given to womxn winemakers!! It’s not that there aren’t of womxn winemakers—they’re just not as talked about, which is a shame because womxn-made wines are generally elegant, innovative, and tasty AF. What’s better is that there are lot of womxn winemakers in the natural wine movement (the movement dedicated to using organic, biodynamic farming and abstaining from adding chemicals in the process), so you can support your environment while supporting your fellow sisters, all while drinking great wine!
Cheers to these ladies for killing it in a predominantly male-driven industry. We raise our glass to you.
Amy Atwood, OENO Wines
Amy Atwood’s brand of wine could not be more aptly named. Not only is the Oeno the ancient Greek word for wine, it’s also the name of this super talented goddess who took some water and transformed that shit into the good juice. Atwood herself is trifecta within the wine industry, working as wine producer, wholesaler, and importer. She focuses on natural wines, smaller production wineries, and wines so lively and exquisite that taste like they were in fact made by a Greek goddess. (I’m not sure if Atwood is Greek, but she definitely seems like a goddess.)
Atwood distributes a ton of scrumptious natural wines, many of them made by female winemakers (you can check out that list here), but OENO is her own delicious brand. Options include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cab Sav, and Rosé, so that you can drink wine with your best friend, your grandma, and everyone in between.
Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black womexn winemaker, believes that winemaking is an expression of love and passion, which is convenient because I believe drinking wine is an expression of love and passion! Biyela uses this mantra to reflect how she treats both the wine and the earth—She fully supports the idea that winemaking should respect the land from which it comes, and that its natural flavors should be enhanced with little interference, meaning not a ton of added gross stuff like sugar and egg whites and dead yeast and a textbook full of yucky chemicals. (Yup, that’s stuff actually in some wines.)
Ntsiki started out as a domestic worker, and was eventually awarded a scholarship to study winemaking. These days she’s producing her own premium labels and collaborating with other badass ladies within the wine industry. One of these projects is SUO, a special project between Ntsiki and Napa Valley winemaker, Helen Keplinger, to weave together varying experts within the wine industry in an effort to create truly unique—and very flavorful—wines.
Berlin Crystal Kelly – Proud Pour
Winemaker Berlin Crystal Kelly was sitting at home, enjoying her own company and sipping on some wine when she started watching ShellShocked, a documentary on the decline of oysters. She had already been filling her apartment with homebrewed wines, beer, mead, and kombucha, so she wondered, “HM why not make a drink that tastes good and does good things for the world?!”
Thus, Kelly’s wine “Proud Pour” was born. Every time you buy a bottle of this North Coast Sav Blanc, 100 wild oysters are returned to the local waters. This is a perk for the ocean as well as our mouths—oysters filter 3,000 gallons of water per day, which protects our coastlines and provides a cozy ecosystem for crabs, shrimp, fish, and various other species. The wine itself has a gently herbaceous and green aroma, and tastes like Meyer lemons and sour apple rings, with a light body that makes it more than adequate for day drinking.
Laura Lorenzo – Various, under Daterra Viticultores
Laura Lorenzo was only 16 when she decided to dive headfirst into the barrel that is winemaking. While most of us were learning to drive, rubbing out minor scratches on our mom’s Volvo, Lorenzo was taking classes at the local enology school. Nowadays she’s hanging in the most Southeast regions of Spain—a place where the climate is so mild it’s practically Mediterranean, and thyme and lavender grow wild.
Laura’s not afraid to her hands dirty in the vineyard, and possesses a natural touch for creating delicious wines all while respecting the environment. She describes her farming as “agro-ecology with minimal impact,” and uses special techniques to nurture soils that were previously decimated by years of industrial agricultural. The winemaking itself is purposely low tech and non-interventionist, a choice that allows you to really taste the authentic flavors of the grape and its environment.
The McBride Sisters – eco.love Wines
The McBride Sisters were born to make wine. Both girls were born in Los Angeles, but Andréa was raised in New Zealand and Robin in Monterey. The separation worked to the girl’s benefit—Andréa spent her early years in New Zealand studying grape farming from her uncle in Marlborough, AKA the land of grassy and bright Sauvignon Blancs. Meanwhile, her sister Robin was over in Monterey where she was surrounded by coastal tide pools, breathtaking forests, and WINE. They reunited and joined forces to create some damn good grape juice.
eco.love, if you haven’t guessed from its name, is all about respecting the environment and making tasty, sustainable wines. This means composting, utilizing clean production methods, using recycled glass for their bottles and natural ink for the labels, and ensuring the purchase of carbon credits to offset unavoidable emissions due to production. Our favorite is the Riesling—this semi-dry white begins with aromas of white peach and follows up with green apple, key limes, and white raisins.
by Amanda Kohr