Most influential women in the wine industry today

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UK

Fiona Beckett

Buddying up with Jancis Robinson she is one of the most powerful wine journalists in Great Britain: food and wine matcher she has written for the Guardian, the Times and Decanter. Her wine recommendations educate the public and make unknown grape varieties popular and fast-selling products.

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Serena Sutcliffe

First Master of Wine in the UK, she leads Sotheby’s international wine department whilst being a proactive and excellent wine writer.

Juel Mahoney
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Having just started her on-trade experience founding Vinissima (an Italian wine specialist), she has written for Bibendum, Harpers Wine & Spirit Magazine, Italia Magazine, Tim Atkin and Decanter. Her perky blog Wine woman & song is a colourful narrative of wine stories paired to artistic happenings in London. Her witty take on all things wine has been also praised by Jancis Robinson in one of her purple articles.

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Helena Nicklin aka Winebird

Artist, video blogger, freelance writer she is the creator of Vinalogies, analogies specifically crafted to understand wine. According to her, Nebbiolo is the ladyboy of grapes, Pinotage rocks (literally!) and Riesling is the Claudia Schiffer of wine. As a wine educator she organizes bespoke wine tastings and events. Entertaining and educational!

ITALY

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Gaia Gaja

She represents the fifth generation of Gaja’s vintners, the kings of Barbaresco in Piedmont and according to Drinks Business, she is the 12th most powerful young woman in wine, and also the only Italian present in the list. After completing her studies in the U.S., she joined the family business in 2004. Today, Gaia is the official Barbaresco ambassador travelling alone in USA, Canada and Asia, managing Gaja’s global markets.

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Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Founder and owner of two wineries since 1998: Casato Prime Donne (a large stone building owned by Donatella’s grandmother, now turned into a winery) in Brunello di Montalcino is the first winery in Italy where all staff and winemakers is 100% female and which has been largely awarded for the quality of its wines. Donatella is also the founder of the farmhouse Fattoria del Colle that produces Chianti Classico in the heart of the Orcia Valley (Orcia Doc).

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GREECE

Sofia Perpera

Ambassador of Greek wine in the U.S., she writes for different Greek publications, she sits as a judge in international wine tastings as well as working together with the Greek State to update the wine legislation. She represents Greek wine in the U.S. and Canada.

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USA

Julie Johnson

Owner and winemaker of Tres Sabores Winery in Napa Valley, she is also the founder of Women in Wine Sense, an educational wine network for enthusiasts and professionals.

Deborah Brenner
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With a background in computer technology and marketing, she is the author of Women of the Vine, which has become an alliance of award winning women winemakers/proprietors and sustainable family grape growers.Women of the Vine was selected in December 2007 by “Wine Spectator” magazine as Critical Reading, the best new books of the year for any wine lover’s library. She received the “2010 NYC National Association of Women Business Owners Signature Award” and the “2009 NY Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion of the Year.” Brenner also received the “Rising Star” Award by Women for Wine Sense at their annual conference at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA.

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Anna C. Noble

The first woman to work in the oenology department of UC Davis in California, she is the sensory chemist who invented the Aroma Wheel in 1984. The wheel is a useful tool that makes easy to recognise and describe aromas and flavours in wine, largely used by wine students and lovers.

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Carole Meredith

A grape geneticist and a former professor at the Department of Viticulture and Enology of UC Davis, meticulously researched DNA typing to differentiate Vitis vinifera grape varieties and for understanding their parentage, which gives insight into the varieties’ history and place of origin. She established the parentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, which was the first application of such techniques. Chardonnay, Syrah and Zinfandel followed. Lagier-Meredith is the winery she runs with her husband and of which Robert Parker has greatly praised the Shiraz.

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Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Author, journalist and wine educator, she is the first American women Master of Wine. She has been the director of the International Wine Center in New York since 1984, and is executive director of the U.S. programs for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. She is also a freelance wine columnist and the co-author of Wine For Dummies, selling nearly a million copies and making wine easy to understand to large audiences.

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Lettie Teague

Before joining The Wall Street Journal as a wine columnist in 2010, Lettie Teague was the wine editor at Food & Wine magazine, where she wrote the column Wine Matters. She received the James Beard Foundation’s M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award in 2003 and won a 2005 James Beard Award for magazine columns.

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Alyssa Rapp

Founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading resource for new to intermediate wine enthusiasts to learn about wine, share tasting notes, and taste wine. Alyssa is also the author of “Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips.” Her daily newsletter reaches over 140,000 subscribers. Moreover, her online forum allowing everyone to share their tasting notes from all social media including Iphone.

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Tara Devon O’Leary aka Wine Passionista

Tara is a U.S. social media wine guru and an established blogger at Wine Passionista. Her online series the Punch Down regularly hosts a plethora of characters from the industry and media. Recent guests have included the wine journalist Jancis Robinson and Rowan Gormley, founder of Naked Wines.

Madeline Puckette aka Wine Folly
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Former musician and graphic designer, after losing her job she combined her passion for wine and her geeky talent into Wine Folly, one of the best online platforms for wine-educating content. With outstanding infographics, accurate grapes and wines profiles, Madeline is the less pretentious and funniest wine teacher you could ever get!

ASIA

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Jeannie Cho Lee

When she achieved the Master of Wine, she was the first ethnic Asian to hold such a title. She has contributed to international wine magazines such as Wine Spectator, The World of Fine Wine, Wine Business International and Decanter. She is the founder of the Fine Wine School in Hong Kong and has just published her first book, Asian Palate, which has been awarded for having simplified wine and food pairings for the Asian audience, creating a brand-new concept.

Debra Meiburg 
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American-born but based in Hong Kong she is the first Asian MW in 2008. Educator journalist and internationally recognised wine judge, in 2007, she was named the most influential Wine journalist in Hong Kong. Author of Debra Meiburg’s Guide to the Hong Kong Wine Trade and many others, she is also the weekly wine column in the South China Morning Post and a regular writer for the Asian press.

This list only comprises few of those women that are making of wine their life. Unfortunately it has not been possible to name them all since there are many other incredible ladies who too are worthy of praise for making wine an excellent product and service, more accessible to the masses.

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