Women in Wine

Women Making an Impact on the Wine Industry

In a traditionally male dominated field there are women who are paving the way to create a more inclusive, accessible, and conscious industry. In honor of Women's History month, we've created this collection of wines made, inspired, or owned by female trailblazers. We will continue to add to our collection, but to kick us off we have the McBride Sisters, Ayesha & Sydel Curry, Ntsiki Biyela, Judy Fowler, Heidi Barrett, Jannine Rickards, Nancy Irelan, Maddalena, Sarah Vandendriessche, and all the women at Sister's Run.

 

In addition, we will be hosting a wine tasting of 4 of these selections at the end of March in support of Dress for Success DC. More details about the event can be found by clicking or tapping the image below. Help us celebrate the strength and innovation of so many impressive women, both in wine and in our community!

Meet Our Favorite Women in Wine

McBride Sisters Wine photo

The McBride Sisters

These 2 women are incredible, to say the least. We love their story, but even more so, we love the innovative approach they bring to their wines.

"Rooted in tradition, remixed for everyday life. For far too long, the "rules" have overshadowed the experience when it comes to wine. With the McBride Sisters Collection of wines, modern epicureans finally have a home that matches the fearless way they want to live their lives."

Robin and Andrea McBride grew up separated by the Pacific Ocean, each living in one of the world's most iconic wine-growing regions: California and New Zealand. They found out about each other and were able to meet only after their father passed away.

They quickly discovered their shared passion for wine and winemaking. They believe a bond can form over a glass of wine and they want to share that with as many wine drinkers as possible. Now they mix their passions with their roots and upbringings to bring us some of the most iconic and motivational wine collections of the 21st century.  And to add yet another impressive piece to their story, they committed to keeping every bottle priced as accessibly and inclusively as possible - so naturally, we then secured an even better deal for you! They have 3 incredible collections and we've brought you 2 wines from their McBride Sisters Collection. 

Hawke's Bay Brut Rose

Hawke’s Bay is one of the most prestigious fine wine regions in New Zealand. This bubbly wine greets you with gentle floral notes of rose petals, strawberries and cream, and loads of freshly crushed red berries. There is a hint of toasty complexity and some creamy richness from time on lees that lead into a dry finish with lingering hints of spice. This Sparkling Rosé pairs beautifully with brunch!

Central Coast Red Blend

Cherry and plum dominate the aromas, gently laced with cedar and vanilla. In the mouth, the wine is elegant, even understated, with perfectly balanced tannin and just the slightest hint of earthiness complimenting the fruit. Extended oak aging softens the finish and brings with it a suggestion of baking spices and cocoa. A well-rounded wine, great with any meal or on its own with great conversation.

Ayesha and Sydel Curry

Ayesha & Sydel Curry

Food and wine are deep-rooted in the Curry family as an integral part of their lifestyle. Ayesha is a 2016 New York Times best-selling cookbook author (The Seasoned Life), a mainstay on numerous cooking shows including the Food Network, a restaurateur, a Forbes 30 Under 30 “most influential food and wine business woman” with millions of online followers, and an ambassador for the CoverGirl cosmetic brand. She is also a busy mom who cherishes homemade meals with her family reflecting her Jamaican, Chinese, Polish and African-American heritage. Ayesha has an incredible talent for bringing an approachable flair to the flavors of life and with Sydel they have brought that flair successfully to Domaine Curry! Their dynamic pairing shines through in the wines they create with winemaker Kent Jarman. They intend for all aspects of the business to reflect their love of good wine, the diverse personalities of the Curry women, and a shared passion for excellence.

2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Domaine Curry Cabernet Sauvignon is being hailed as one of the finest of the decade — a great relief since the 2020 vintage was severely impacted by smoke from the fires that ravaged many of California’s wine growing regions. Domaine Curry 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc from the estate vineyards in Calistoga. The initial reviews have been outstanding earning 94 pts from Vinous, and 96pts from James Suckling.

Ntsiki Biyela creator of Aslina photo

Ntsiki Biyela

As one of South Africa’s iconic winemakers, Ntsiki Biyela has forged a path to become a highly respected and widely admired name in the world of wine. In 2016, she established Aslina Wines, inspired by the strength and determination of the biggest influence in her life, her grandmother. Today Aslina is renowned for its range of premium wines and is the realisation of Ntsiki’s dream to create an exceptional world-class brand.

 

Ntsiki grew up in Mahlabathini, a rural village in KwaZulu-Natal, and matriculated from high school in 1996. Having spent a year as a domestic worker, she was awarded a scholarship to study winemaking at Stellenbosch University in 1999. She graduated in 2003 with a BSc in Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology) and joined boutique winery Stellekaya as their winemaker the following year. Ntsiki’s ambition to create her own wines grew following a collaboration with Californian winemaker, Helen Kiplinger, as part of Mika Bulmash’s Wine for the World initiative.

 

Her winemaking philosophy drew upon earlier experiences of harvest in Tuscany and Bordeaux, where she discovered a close affinity with nature that rekindled her own deep connection with the soil growing up in KwaZulu-Natal. She and her wines have won numerous awards over the years as further proof of her remarkable ability and impact on the wine industry.

Aslina Chardonnay

The Aslina branding strongly echoes Ntsiki’s Zulu culture and heritage and the label features the calabash, a traditional clay drinking vessel. Although used typically for beer, Ntsiki has added her own unique twist by adding grapes to the calabash, transforming it into a container for her distinctive wines. We choose to carry her Chardonnay specifically, because we believe it is an excellent representation of innovation and mastery. It is complex and fruity, yet creamy and full. There is a partial wooding you will notice that gives the wine a unique edge.

Judy Fowler of Puriri Hills photo

Judy Fowler

Judy is both the owner and the winemaker for Puriri Hills. She has had a lifelong interest in Bordeaux blends  and came to winemaking with a goal to make classic, elegant, nuanced dinner wines.  She is a  perfectionist dedicated to producing New Zealand’s best blended wines crafted from merlot, franc, carmenere, cabernet and malbec.

 

Judy is very near and dear to our hearts for many reasons. Obviously she produces incredible wines, but she is also originally from the great state of Virginia! She went to the Darden School of Business at UVA and paired that with her undergrad degree in chemistry to years later, set her sites on creating some of the world's most impressive wines - and she has succeeded!

Mokoroa Sauvignon Blanc

Opens with a big burst of wild tropical fruit, pink citrus, and fresh cut grass. On the palate it's mellow and round with explosive pink fruit, lime, lemon and green grass flavors that finish with a noticeable "boom"! Really drinkable and very long and mouthwatering, this is a fabulous Sauvignon Blanc for parties, thirst quenching, and food.

Mokoroa Red Blend

Medium red fruits and some earth, spice and leather undertones on the nose call to mind classic Bordeaux. The palate is medium-bodied and pleasantly weighty without being overpowering. Fresh and accessible, but also showing complex structure that speaks to the very talented winemaker behind this release, and the precisely-judged blend of five distinct varietals.

Heidi Barrett photo

Heidi Barrett

This inspirational woman has been dubbed "the first lady of wine" and "the Queen of Cult Cabernet" by Robert Parker. She has been honored with five 100-point scores from the major critics during her career. Heidi is well-regarded for the exceptional finesse and quality of the wines she has crafted over the years.

In addition to Fantesca, her current portfolio includes Amuse Bouche, Paradigm, Lamborn, Kenzo Estate, Au Sommet, Vin Perdu and her own labels, La Sirena and Barrett & Barrett. She has worked previously with Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Jones Family, Grace Family, Vineyard 29, David Arthur, Barbour Vineyards and Showket.

Amuse Bouche Red Blend

"This is your opportunity to secure an allocation of our best value, most mind-altering wine from our Napa Valley estates. Every year the blend changes. The Vin Perdu 2019 is composed of estate-grown grapes from the Amuse Bouche, La Sirena, and Fantesca properties. For this vintage, Heidi masterfully blended 42.3% Cabernet Sauvignon with 33.1% Petit Verdot, 16.9% Merlot, 6.2% Malbec, and 1.5% Petite Sirah. We produced only 200 cases. Each label features our patented flip lenticular label and our unique storytelling with each new vintage. The 2019 Vin Perdu label reflects these past 12 months of our lives and the indisputable conclusion that if you don’t occasionally remove your mask to savor the finer things in life, the wine will be lost forever!"

Jannine Rickards of Urlar Winery photo

Jannine Rickards

Jannine spent some time working in high-end restaurants and for food importers in Australia and NZ. Given the opportunity in 2003 to work a harvest in Hawkes Bay she then became enticed with wine growing. Several years were spent working international harvests in Burgundy, California, South Africa and Oregon while working at Ata Rangi in Martinborough as Assistant Winemaker. She completed her Post Graduate in Oenology and then left to work in Burgundy for the season of 2012 at Thibault Liger-Beliar. On return she moved to the South Island and spent three years at Pegasus Bay before heading to Australia to gain knowledge on methode champenoise wine production at Deviation Road, and returned to NZ and the Wairarapa where in 2017 she joined the team at URLAR.

 

Jannine and her partner have a block of land which they intend to build on and have a permaculture-based farm off the grid. She is a firm supporter of organic and local foods, community and hunting for deer and pigs. She is dedicated to producing high quality wines for URLAR and committed to evolving the style as the vines age.

Urlar Sauvignon Blanc

Notes of honeydew melon and stone fruit give a riper expression of this variety. The palate is nicely balanced with acidity and juicy, fruity charm to make this an easygoing sipper for springtime and summery cuisine.

Urlar's Pinot Noir

This wine is not even available in the rest of Virginia yet! And we brought it in for you. It is already receiving 94 point ratings and we cannot wait to hear what you think of it.

Nancy Irelan Red Tail Ridge photo

Nancy Irelan

Nancy is the  winemaker and partner at Red Tail Ridge, a  stunning finger lakes winery. She has been in the wine industry for over 35 years. 

Nancy’s career path includes a decade at E&J Gallo as VP of Viticulture & Enology R&D, a PhD in grape genetics in the UC-Davis Viticulture and Enology Depart, along with various consulting gigs.

After years of large volume production and mass appeal, Red Tail Ridge is a personal journey of introspection for Nancy, as she focuses on how to best represent the unique personality and terroir of her vineyard.

Each wine is a tiny time capsule of typicity that reflects a moment in the life-history of our little property.

Sans Oak Chardonnay

Over the year we carry many of Red Tail Ridge's selection, but right now we have their unique Chardonnay. Clean and fresh, made from some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in the Finger Lakes. Concentration of green apple fruit; lean and crisp. All stainless steel - no oak.

Maddalena, the Matriarch of the Riboli Family

"Behind Maddalena Wines, the family-owned, certified sustainable, estate-grown Central Coast winery, there is Maddalena Riboli. At 98 years of age, Maddalena continues to inspire her winemaking family with her determination, vision, and ingenuity. The winery recently announced a new tagline and new package to honor the woman who made her own mark and inspires a new generation of women.

 

“When I was growing up, I had no idea that what my mother was doing was any different to other families. I don’t think she did either,” says Cathy Riboli, 3rd generation Riboli family owner. “But now, as our family grows and the fourth generation has joined the company, we understand just how much she did, not just for our family business, but also the industry as a whole. Our ‘Make Your Mark’ tagline is an effort to see her contributions are recognized.”

 

Born in 1922 in Piedmont, Italy, Maddalena Riboli is the foundation of Riboli Family Wines, the producers behind Maddalena Wines. When her family emigrated to the U.S., they settled in Southern California, where they farmed the land. Her husband, the late Stefano Riboli, was smitten when he saw her ability to skillfully drive a tractor! A woman before her times, Maddalena is credited with opening one of the first winery tasting rooms in California in 1947 because she knew customers would buy more if they had a chance to taste the wines." - Pess Release from Wine Industry Advisor

 

Wines will be in stock by mid-March!

Sarah Vandendriessche

"Sarah Vandendriessche’s “round about way,” to becoming a winemaker in Napa Valley makes her an inspiration for anyone wanting to break into the industry. A native of New Orleans, she fell in love with wine while working in a restaurant. She describes the wine she crafts for Elizabeth Spencer, a boutique, high-end winery in Rutherford, in the terms of her other great love: music. Her wines are “classical:” focused and structured. “We’re looking for orchestration — for a lot of instruments that come together to create harmony tension and layers of texture,” says Vendendriessche." - Grape Collective

 

Joined Elizabeth Spencer in 2010 as Winemaker. Previous experience at Scholium Project; Robert Sinskey Vineyards,Krupp Brothers Estates/Stagecoach Vineyards, White Rock Vineyards. We have a stellar winemaking team at Elizabeth Spencer. Spencer Graham is Director of Winemaking. He determined the original style of our wines and established the long term relationships with our grape growers. Sarah Vandendriessche is the Winemaker, overseeing all aspects of production, from managing vineyard practices through to bottling. Spencer and Sarah work together on all final blends. Robbie Meyer is our consulting winemaker.

Organic Sauvignon Blanc

This is a medium to light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc, lovingly inspired by the Loire Valley. Boldly aromatic with top notes of passionfruit and lemon rind, followed by layers of floral citrus blossoms and tangy Meyer lemon. The palate offers a vibrant, quenching acidity and provides structure for flavors of tropical fruits, apricot and a citrus melange with the slightest hint of minerality to provide an intriguing counterpoint. The wine retains a sense of fullness without losing its refreshing acidity. Flavors and aromatics remain lively and complex through the finish.