To celebrate this year's International Women's Day, we're highlighting a handful of the many incredibly talented female winemakers in the industry. From France and Italy to South America and the United States, women winemakers are making an impact on the winemaking industry.
Danielle Cyrot (pictured above) is the head winemaker at PlumpJack Group's CADE Estate Winery on Howell Mountain. When asked why she chose winemaking as her career path, Danielle said, "I found the process of making wine fascinating. My job utilizes the fields of biology, chemistry, and plant physiology with the art of blending and trusting your own sense of smell and taste. I love the fact that I can be in the vineyards in the morning, crushing grapes in the afternoon, and enjoying amazing wines with dinner every night. I get a huge amount of satisfaction by saying, 'I made that wine and it tastes pretty darn good!'"
Alexandrine Roy is the 4th generation of the Roy family to farm their holdings around Gevrey-Chambertin. This is a small domaine of four hectares, the fruit of which is entirely de-stemmed and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Alexandrine is a true farmer, consistently ploughing the soils to allow the roots of the vines to dig deep into the limestone. The resulting wines from these delicately cared for vineyards show a lovely purity and elegance that is frankly staggering. Through minimal intervention and extraction, Alexandrine allows her old vines to express themselves with immense depth of flavor and clarity.
After many years of transition, Elio Altare has finally handed over the reigns to his daughter, Silvia, who is now running the family winery on a day to day basis. Located in La Morra, the Altare family owns five hectares and rents five more. Their vineyards are planted primarily to Nebbiolo with Dolcetto & Barbera rounding out the rest. The resulting wines are often considered to be the ultimate expressions of the soft, fragrant and lush qualities characteristic of the commune of La Morra.
Bibiana González Rave is the founder and winemaker of Cattleya Wines. She hails from Medellín, Colombia, where she achieved a degree in chemical engineering (her father was an electrical engineer and her mother was in ﬁnance). She then earned a Technician of Viticulture and Oenology diploma in Angoulême, France, followed by a diploma of Oenology from the University of Bordeaux. She worked harvests in Bordeaux at Château Haut-Brion – as well as with Stéphane Ogier in Côte Rôtie, and Domaine du Devevey in Burgundy. In addition, she worked in South Africa and with the likes of Peay, Au Bon Climat, Qupé and Lynmar in California. Since leaving Lynmar Winery in 2011, Rave has been a whirlwind of activity. She started her own vineyard and winery-consulting business, Rave Vines & Wines, produced a handful of wines under her own label, Cattleya, married Jeff Pisoni of the Pisoni Vineyard family, formed a winery with him called Shared Notes, secured new grape sources for her wines, and signed on as winemaker for Jayson Pahlmeyer’s Sonoma Coast Pinot and Chardonnay project. It’s named after Wayfarer Ranch, which Pahlmeyer owns, located in a remote part of the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation. Rave is overseeing both the vineyard and winemaking. In 2016, her role at Pahlmeyer was expanded across all of the Napa Valley and Pahlmeyer winemaking. Bibiana’s vision, experience and skills are about meticulously handcrafting wines from exceptional sites, farmed by growers she knows personally and strongly believes in. These relationships are currently with the Pisoni-Franscioni families at the Soberanes Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands, Anne Moller-Racke of Donum Estate in Carneros, Jim Pratt of Cornerstone Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, and Mike & Kim from Lakeview Vineyard in Green Valley-Russian River Valley.