Meet the women winemakers changing the way we drink

Women in the UK are more likely to drink wine than blokes. But you’re far less likely to find a female winemaker rolling up her sleeves in the vineyard.

The wine world is dominated by men, but there are growing numbers of women doing great things with grapes thanks to 190,000 wine drinkers in the UK.

Naked Wines the crowdfunded online wine retailer is backing talented female winemakers to make spectacular wine with their own name on the label.

Keep scrolling to meet four of the most passionate, talented women winemakers in the world. Once you’ve tasted their wines, they’ll leave no doubt that the future (of wine) is female…

Katie Jones – Languedoc, France

In 2009 Leicestershire lass Katie Jones took a massive leap of faith, staking her future on a tiny vineyard perched on a hillside in the Languedoc. But things soon took a turn for the worse.

Katie came home to every winemaker’s worst nightmare. A gang of jealous locals had broken into her winery and emptied the tanks of her award-winning wines. In one, senseless act of vandalism, 50% of Katie’s business was literally down the drain.

She was heartbroken. But 2,500 Naked Wines Angel customers rallied together to get her back on her feet – raising over £200k in one afternoon to get Katie back on her feet.

Since then Katie’s business has totally transformed. She’s been able to buy a beautiful old train station which she’s in the process of turning into a winery. She’s moving along at full steam ahead, and has some cracking wines in the pipeline.

Wine to try: Katie’s La Gare Fitou 2016 is is a lush, dark, classic wine that’s chock full of juicy, dark berries, with hints of the figs, almonds, rosemary and thyme that grow wild in the vineyards. No wonder wine critic Robert Parker awarded one vintage a whopping 92 Points.

Carmen Stevens – Stellenbosch, South Africa

As the first ever black woman to graduate from winemaking school in South Africa… Carmen went on to become head winemaker at Amani Vineyards, a super-premium, no expense spared, mega-award-winning winery.

She’d always wanted to go it alone. But in South Africa she found the odds were stacked against her. She couldn’t even get a bank overdraft to start her own business.

Then one special day in 2011, her life changed for the better. Naked Wines Angel customers clubbed together to give her the funds she needed to go it alone. “That day will go down in history for me as one of the greatest days of my life” said Carmen. Six years on, she’s still living her winemaking dream.

She may be successful now but Stevens hasn’t forgotten her old community. This year Angel donations last year helped Carmen put 700,000 meals on the table for hungry kids in 6 primary schools near Stellenbosch.

Wine to try: Carmen’s Catoria Coastal Blend 2016 is Carmen’s homage to Bordeaux, made from top-notch grapes hand-picked at optimal ripeness. But unlike Bordeaux, they come from the sun-drenched vineyards of South Africa, taking the flavour through the roof. It’s ripe, complex, and saturated with intense juicy blackcurrant fruit – seriously plush stuff.

Nina Stocker – Victoria, Australia

Winemakers don’t come much more talented, passionate or downright lovely than Nina Stocker. It’s scary how much she’s achieved in her measly 36 years.

In her twenties she won medals galore making wines in some of the most prestigious regions in the world. She was the youngest EVER winner of the prestigious Air New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc trophy in 2009. Then she finally took the plunge and set up her own winery back home in the picturesque foothills of Central Victoria, Australia.

When a beautiful, neglected old vineyard next door to hers was facing death by chainsaw, Naked Wines Angels gave her the funds to save the irreplaceable old vines from the chop and expand her next-door vineyard. Now she’s turned the fruit into the gorgeous wines they’re capable of.

Wine to try: Nina’s Brave Goose Landscape Shiraz 2016 is the wine from the beautiful 30 year old vineyard that Nina saved. She’s handmade this wine with love – it’s hand picked, hand plunged, gently pressed, and aged in French oak to create a powerful, concentrated Shiraz – full of the intense bramble and plum fruit flavours.

Connie Schwaderer – Central Valley, Chile

Chilean winemaking has been dominated by the big boys for decades. 90% of the Chilean wines you see on UK shelves are made by 5 companies who have a complete stranglehold on the market.

The problem with this is that small independent winemakers can’t make ends meet, and Chilean wines aren’t reaching their full potential. For 13 long years Connie worked under the shadows of big corporate wineries – putting in all the hard work, while the fat-cats took all the glory (and the medals!)

Then in 2008 Connie said ‘enough is enough’. Angel investment gave Connie the funds she needed to break free of the corporate shackles and set up on her own – making her dream a reality. Now she makes wine she’s truly proud of.

Wine to try: Connie’s Kimbao Merlot Malbec 2016. Connie wanted to make a traditional Chilean Merlot with a naughty twist. In this case, the “special touch” was from a splash of bold, vibrant Malbec which bring a delicious velvety texture and juicy black fruit. It’s dangerously easy to drink. 

About Naked Wines

Naked Wines is a customer funded wine business. Our 190,000 UK customers save £20 into their Naked Wines piggy bank each month. This investment helps to fund talented independent winemakers (like Katie, Carmen, Nina and Connie!) in return for exclusive access to delicious wines at insider prices.