Category Archives: Women in Wine

Women In Wine: An Interview With Maria Elena Jimenez from Pares Balta in Penedes

I didn’t post this on a Friday so I am reposting to keep in line with my women in wine series. Enjoy the holiday weekend and remember to think about what Memorial Day actually means, http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-memorial-day. Say hello and thank you to a sailor if in NYC during Fleet Week.

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mspain

Today I am posting an online conversation I had with Maria Elena Jimenez, one of the winemakers at Pares Balta.

1. How did you get into the wine business?

Although it may seem sappy, love was the reason for everything. My husband, by then just my boyfriend, was the one to introduce me to wine and make me fall in love with wine along with him. I am a chemical engineer, and in those days working as a consultant, when my husband proposed me to return to the university to study enology in order to work together in the family business.
And all the tiny pieces began to fall in its right place after that, wine , love, family, children, passion till reaching the point where I am nowadays, managing the cellar altogether with Marta

2. What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in…

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Filed under Memorable Events, Penedes, spain, wines, Women in Wine, Women in Wine Fridays

Italian Indigenous Varities: Mammolo Nero from Tuscany

Susanna Crociani

This week’s variety hails from Tuscany and is called Mammolo. It tends to be mostly found in the province of Siena, Lucca and Grosseto. When I think of Mammolo, I think of Susanna Crociani, a producer and friend from Montepulciano. She always reminds people that Mammolo is also the name of one of the Seven Dwarfs, Bashful.

Mammolo is a hardy and somewhat rustic grape that is usually found in blends rather than as a mono-varietal wine.

ConsorzioMontepulcianoIt produces full bodied but not highly alcoholic wines. Mammola also means violet which comes out as the wine made from this grape ages. It is used in a variety of Tuscan DOCs and DOCG wines: Carmignano, Pomino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Chianti, Colli dell’Etruria centrale, Morellino di Scansano, Monteregio di Massa Marittima and Parrina.

Mammolo is a grape variety that also produces a pronounced pepper note when a certain portion is added to a blend. I have always found it one of the components of the Crociani line that I really enjoy.

 

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Filed under Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Italian wineries, italy, Memorable Events, Tuscany, Women in Wine

Women In Wine: An Interview With Maria Elena Jimenez from Pares Balta in Penedes

mspain

Today I am posting an online conversation I had with Maria Elena Jimenez, one of the winemakers at Pares Balta.

1. How did you get into the wine business?

Although it may seem sappy, love was the reason for everything. My husband, by then just my boyfriend, was the one to introduce me to wine and make me fall in love with wine along with him. I am a chemical engineer, and in those days working as a consultant, when my husband proposed me to return to the university to study enology in order to work together in the family business.
And all the tiny pieces began to fall in its right place after that, wine , love, family, children, passion till reaching the point where I am nowadays, managing the cellar altogether with Marta

2. What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in terms of gender issues, if any?

Even when I have been fortunate to have the backing of the family, public trust and prestige does not come easily for women, just after years of consistent work does it arrives, whenever men achieve it more naturally.

3. What trends and changes have you seen since you started? What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years in your sector of the business?

Talking about wine, I saw the rise and decline of the “thick” wines (red full-bodied wines you could nearly cut with a knife or smoky barrel branded whites) in favor of a much more elegant and balanced style.

In the last few years, it has appeared a new trend that looks for a much more natural approach to winemaking, in favor of a more artisanal way. Decreasing or avoiding the use of sulfites and technological manipulation, favoring traditional local varieties and accepting wines out of the mainstream taste.

At Parés Baltà we are traveling along this road, searching for the maximal expression of our vineyards and our soil. Organically and biodynamically certified, we try to respect our environment, our heritage and bring them to our customers.

4. What do you see happening in the Spanish wine world in the coming years?

I am not a wine guru neither I pretend to be a visionary so I leave this role to others who are more involved in the end market development.

But as far as there appears to be an increasing interest in different grapes, tastes…, new opportunities seem to open for Spanish wine apart from the well-known good-for-their-price Riojas.

5. Are people interested in different varietals? International varietals?

As I was just telling you in your prior question there is an increasing interest in local varieties, unknown by the general customer, who nowadays is looking for different wines and tastes from the mainstream chardonnays ,cabernets and Riojas.

6. What wines from Spain are truly interesting to people in the US these days?

Following with the same argument, there would be two sort of wines that would be interesting.

On the one hand, we find the good value reds and whites that provide easy drinking and lovable wine for an affordable price.

On the other hand, there are that many different wines that bring new experiences for the more mature palates tired of always the same old taste.

That gives an opportunity to other wine regions from Spain with an incredible variety of grapes and styles since now invisible for the US market.

7. What do you think about the level of wine education in general in the US about Spanish wines?

Spain is still a country to discover for the Americans. Its culture, gastronomy, differences and of course, wines.

8. Who is the average wine drinker today? What do they care about?

There are many kinds of drinkers today, interested in different kinds of wine. Uncomplicated wines to enjoy in a relaxed way, exotic wines for the curious, natural, organic… wines for the more concerned ones. The customer spectrum is becoming broader and new market niches appear every day.

9. Where are women going to be in the industry in the next 10 years?

The presence of women will be increasing in the end of the process, not so much in the winemaking in such a short term, unfortunately. I am not seeing an improvement in the fight for the equality between men and women.

10. What secrets can you share about pairing Spanish wines with food?

Due to the incredible variety of grapes, regions, styles. There is always a perfect, or many of them, pairing for any food you may think.
Rich in acidity or mature, dry, sweet, full bodied or light, oaked or non, white, rose, whites, dessert wine. Flavorful or delicate. Anything you may need.

Cava with everything, especially iberico Ham.
Xarel·lo as our Calcari and oysters

There are endless possibilities.

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Women In Wine Fridays: Matilde Poggi from Le Fraghe (Veneto)

This week’s Women in Wine Fridays is about Matilde Poggi from Le Fraghe. I met Matilde at the Slow Wine tasting back in February. I was really impressed with her wines and wanted to find out more about her. These are her answers to some questions that I emailed her about her winery and her winemaking. I found her wines all very clean and intriguing. People, myself included, often don’t take Bardolino seriously enough. Made from Corvina and Rondinella, this wine proved very interesting and food friendly. Meeting Matilde made me want to learn more and I think this Vinitaly I will take advantage of that opportunity.

MatildePoggi_FIVI_med

1.Tell me about Le Fraghe and your family history?

I began to vinify my father’s grapes in 1984. Till that year the grapes were given to my uncle who has another winery

2. How did you get into the wine business?

It is something I grew up with as the winery was in the family since 1960s. as a child I liked so much the seasons’ cycle and imagined the vines going to sleep after the harvest and waking up in spring and growing in summer time. I wanted to meet the challenges of this world.

3.What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in terms of gender issues, if any?

In 1980s many people were surprised as they thought that wine was a male business. There were not so many women making wines, now it is much more common. I have to say that sometimes I felt people were not trusting me being a woman. I guess that this impression is shared by women in many other businesses

4.What trends and changes have you seen since you started? What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years in your sector of the business?

Since I started there are many more small producers compared to 1980s. People are more sensible to artisanal, organic and sustainable wines. I believe that this trend will go on in the next years too. In the next years I think that there will be consumers groups: one side people drinking wine as a commodity, no matter where it comes from and, in the more educated countries, people looking much more for indigenous grapes made from artisanal winegrowers

5.What do you see happening in the Italian wine world in the coming years?

I think that there will be more attention for artisanal, organic, natural wines coming from indigenous grapes. I think that there will be more and more direct contact with businesses, people like to know where the wine is made and who is the winemaker.

6.Are people interested in different varietals? International varietals?

I believe that there is a bigger interest for indigenous grapes

7.What wines from the Veneto that are truly interesting to people these days (as you see from tourists visiting you?

People coming visiting mostly look for Chiaretto, my rosè.

8. What do you think about the level of wine education in general and about wines from your area in particular?

Not so many people are highly educated in wine, too many look just for wines which are trendy. Wines of our area are known but sometimes not so well known as Bardolino is often considered an easy drinking wine and few people give it the consideration it deserves

9. Where are women going to be in the industry in the next 10 years?

Many women decide to study enology, I guess that there will be more women engaged in the winemaking processes

10. What secrets can you share about pairing your wines with food?

I like serving Bardolino slightly chilled, pairing fresh water fish as well.

11. What is going on with sustainability in your area?

I turned to organic in 2009, not many producers were organic at that time. Now it is becoming more popular, winegrowers understand that we are the first to make something for a better environment.

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Filed under Italian indigenous varieties, Italian regions, Italian women in wine, Veneto, wines, Women in Wine, Women in Wine Fridays

Women In Wine Fridays: Aileen Robbins of the Dunn Robbins Group

Michele, Aileen, Mario

Thinking about my love for Portugal, I realized that it is all thanks to the lovely lady in the photo, Aileen Robbins of the Dunn Robbins Group. I first met Aileen when I moved back to New York after having lived in Italy for many years. She was and is always a pleasure to see and chat with. Aileen I believe studied to be an opera singer and she adds touches of song to her speech at various points in a conversation. I have had the pleasure of working with Aileen on a number of projects through the years and pitching others. Among those highlights was a project on Madeira and a fantastic trip to the Tejo in 2013 that sparked my interest in Portugal. I had been twice before but never to a wine region or more preciously never on a wine trip. Thanks to Aileen, indirectly this last time, I have now been on two wine trips. A consummate professional and a pleasure to be around, Aileen has opened a new world to me and for that, I am very grateful.

Portuguese wine fact #1: Alicante Bouchet grows in the Alentejo: “Despite not being an indigenous Portuguese grape variety, Alicante Bouschet is so deep-rooted in Alentejo collective patrimony that it is often assumed to be Portuguese. In fact it is a displaced variety, the result of conjoining the French varieties Petit Bouschet and Grenache. It is one of the world’s very few colouring grapes, able to provide concentrated, deeply coloured wines, a feature that has earned it the nickname “Writing Ink,” according to the website Vinhos do Alentejo.

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Monday Musings: Women In Wine Resources

Le Donne del Vino - Vinitaly

On my way to the women in wine symposium today, I have been looking at all the wonderful women in wine groups and websites. There are so many that it is quite impressive. One great resource that caught my eye is from Luscious Lashes. What an impressive and varied group.

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Women In Wine Fridays: Surprise At Meeting Many Women In Wine Industry In Douro Valley

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I just got back from a great trip to the Douro Valley in Portugal. I was thrilled to see the number of women working in the wine industry there. And I admit, surprised. I think Portugal surprised me in general. I had been there on three different occasions but this time I really fell in love. Sometimes you fall in love at first sight, other times it takes a bit longer or doesn’t happen at all. The women I met were winemakers, owners, marketing and sales, and laboratory assistants. I saw women picking grapes and sorting them as well. I will be writing about all of these experiences in the coming weeks but I am pleased to report that women seem to be a strong part of the wine industry in the Douro Valley.

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Filed under Memorable Events, Portugal, Travel, Women in Wine