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It used to be that the most famous wine makers were 70-year-old men. That’s changed; the torch has been passed to younger generations and to women. It is an international movement and I find the swelling ranks of women who make wine, own vineyards, or are in other influential positions in Italy very exciting. You see Italian women make very good wine, and only very good wine. In fact, women all over the world are creating amazing wines; wines which are true to nature and to their place- wines worth seeking out. So when asked what I would like to write about for The Wine’dUp, my immediate answer was, “Women in Wine!”At that very moment I was sipping a fabulous Irpinia Aglianico from the beautiful and passionate Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara Winery in Campagnia, Italy. Her Aglianico had recently been recognized by Wine Spectator as one of the top 100 of 2012. It is reasonably priced and very good.

Ilaria’s commitment to a family wine tradition of over 150 years and a deep connection to the terroir and indigenous fruit of the Irpinia and Avellino regions brings many great wines to our table, like her Fiano di Avellino, that we have so enjoyed.

Years ago, I fell in love with the wines of Elisabetta Foradori of Mezzolombardo in Trentino. I think she may be one of the most inspirational winemakers in Italy. In 1984, she began her life’s work as a wine maker at a winery founded in 1901 that was tended by her forefathers for 55 years. Elisabetta had just graduated from the Oenology Institute in San Michele all’Adige and was suddenly thrust into the role of head wine maker when her father unexpectedly passed away.

Over the years, carefully bringing together the traditions of the region and knowledge gained at university, Elisabetta transformed the vineyard to be the source of amazing wines that it is today. She focuses on grapes from the region Teroldego and Nosiola. In 1986, she created a wine aged in a barriques which definitively raised the bar for Teroldego wines. In 2002, she introduced bio-dynamic cultivation to her vineyard and the story continues.

Do women have more sensibility when it comes to natural wine making? Do they give “Mother Nature a greater presence in this world? I think so.

In Valpolicella, Verona, Marilisa Allegrini directs one of the region’s most famous vineyards, named after her family. Allegrini produces many wonderful high-end wines and facilitates innovative projects like Corte Giara, a negociant that brings together a select group of grape growers with “a philosophy to deliver high value wines for everyday drinking, that have a modern and stylish appeal while staying true to their roots.” There’s that “true to the nature of the region being mentioned again; are we seeing a common denominator here?

Importer Louis/Dressner Selections has been particularly good at finding and representing these exceptional women in wine. In addition to representing Elisabetta Foradori, they also bring exciting people and younger generation wine makers like Arianna Occhipinti to the United States.

Arianna started making her own wine in 2004 right after she graduated from university. Her mission is “making wine of terroir…you have to respect the vineyards, and nature in general. Arianna continues. “My region is a fresh area in the South-East of Sicily, between the mountains and the sea. We receive fresh winds from the mountains, and it’s important to me to capture this in the wines.

I also love the work of twin sisters, Margarita and Francesca Padovani, who are creating a sensation from their tiny farm in Montalcino. They say, “we grow grapes naturally; our goal in the cellar is simply to transform natural fruit into honest wine; what I mean by that is a wine that is closely linked to the vintage, the terroir, and to us. This approach to wine making yields quality that is evident from your first sip. It just feels right.

These were just a few of the great women who are producing very wonderful wine. I will be sharing more, but the next time you are at your favorite wine store, ask this… What have you got made by women?

Guest post by Peter Conway

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