In a male-dominated field, many women have begun to climb the ranks and join in on the wine industry. Many of these women have become chief winemakers, from locations in California to Chile. Some have even started up their own company in the process.
If you are looking for a refreshing wine to compliment your holiday dishes and baked goods, here is a list of ten women-led wineries and winemakers for you to support. Let’s put names to the bottles that you could be popping this season.
Krista Scruggs, owner of ZAFA Wines
Originally from California, Krista Scruggs landed in New York in 2013, where she began her career in the wine industry at Constellation Brands. Scruggs recently left her role as an assistant winemaker at La Garagista Farm & Winery in Vermont to become vineyard manager of Ellison Estate Vineyard and owner and winegrower of ZAFA Wines. Her twist on winemaking comes from her original blend of both apples and grapes, sometimes even fermenting them together. ZAFA Wines is 100% woman-owned and has maintained an 85% minimum all-woman staff.
Viviana Navarrete, Chief Winemaker of Viña Leyda
In 2007, Viviana Navarrete was named chief winemaker of Viña Leyda. Located in Chile, she fell in love with making Sauvignon Blanc while studying agricultural sciences and specializing in winemaking. Navarrete aims to make the most refreshing cool climate wines in Chile. She’s considered an innovator and is one of the country’s few winemakers to produce Sauvignon Gris and Riesling, for which she has become popularly known. Navarrete is also in charge of the Buchahueico Project, where she works closely with the native Mapuche community to produce a style of cool-climate Pinot.
Michèle Ouellet and Melinda Kearney, founders of Lorenza Wine Company
This mother-daughter duo hails from California where they strive to create the “real” dry rosé. Melinda Kearney is a wine business veteran, while her daughter, Michèle Ouellet, is an international supermodel. Releasing their first vintage in 2008 under the Lorenza name, their operation may be considered small to some standards, but the grapes they use are completely own-rooted, which helps with concentration and substance to the final blend. Their long term approach allows them to continue steadily in the wine industry while being favored by so many. They recently launched their first wine subscription named “Le Club” this past summer.
Tara Gomez, winemaker of Kitá Wines and co-founder, president, co-winemaker of C2D
Tara Gomez is the first Native American to be recognized to make wine for her tribe from a vineyard it owns and has produced various wines under her tribe’s name: Kitá. During her travels, she took interest in the process of old winemaking. In 2010, Gomez started her project when her tribe, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, purchased Camp 4 Vineyard in California. With her winery, Gomez can give back to her community and land through sustainability.
Andrea Mullineux, owner and winemaker of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
Originally from San Francisco, Andrea Mullineux fell in love with winemaking at a young age. She completed harvests in Napa Valley and worked in areas such as Stellenbosch and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In 2007 Mullineux launched Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, in Swartland, South Africa, where she made an assortment of wines from accessible style to vintage. The brand became so popular it was awarded the 2014 and 2016 Platter’s South African Winery of the year. In 2016, Mullineux was named winemaker of the year by Wine Enthusiast.
Stephanie Jacobs, winemaker of Cakebread Cellars
In 2019, Stephanie Jacobs became a winemaker at Cakebread Cellars, where she had been working since 2004 as an enologist. Jacobs became interested in wine during an exchange program while visiting France. After graduation, she learned cellar operations and lab analysis at a small winery in Sierra Foothills. She worked for Bogle Vineyards as an enologist until she landed her original position at Cakebread a few years later.
Jordan Salcito, founder and CEO of Drink RAMONA, Inc
Jordan Salcito founded RAMONA on an urge to create a refreshing cooler that wasn’t beer, but also wine-based. She has over ten years of experience in restaurants, and previously running the Momofuku beverage company. Salcito found backers for her business plan, half of them also being women, and her company took off. RAMONA is a pioneer of its time, being a totally organic, low-alcohol, easy-drinking, effervescent wine spritz.
Melissa Burr, Director of Winemaking at Stoller Family Estate
Melissa Burr was raised in Willamette Valley, Oregon, where she graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science intending to practice naturopathic medicine. She soon after found her passion for winemaking. Burr turned to study winemaking and fermentation while interning for local wineries, eventually becoming a production winemaker for Cooper Mountain. In 2003, she joined Stoller Family Estate. Their wines are all locally made in Oregon, specializing in Pinot Noirs. In 2013, she helped Stoller launch its project History, where they pay homage to historic vineyards in the Pacific Northwest.
Elena Pozzolini, CEO and winemaker of Tenuta Sette Cieli
Born in Florence, Italy, Elena Pozzolini began her career in the wine industry after graduating from the University of Pisa with a degree in viticulture and enology. She traveled around the world working harvests in locations such as Argentina and Australia. When she returned to Italy, she began working for Bibi Graetz before joining Tenuta Sette Cieli in Tuscany. In 2000, the owners began planting their first vineyard on its 170 acres of land. They specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec.
Alexandra Boudrot, Cellarmaster of Pierre Sparr
Alexandra Boudrot was born into a family of winegrowers in Nuits-St-Georges, France. She graduated and earned the National Diploma of Oenology, then moved to Alsace, France where she began her position at the Oenological and Winemaking Council. From there, Boudrot transitioned to a role at Cave de Beblenheim, where she helped growers develop environmentally friendly and sustainable production methods. In 2015 she began working at Pierre Sparr, where they pride themselves on the perfect match between ancestral knowledge and today’s technology.