Category Archives: Women in Wine

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.


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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Portugal, wines, Women in Wine

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Monday Musings, wines, Women in Wine

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


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.

Leave a comment

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

Charles Scicolone On DonnaChiara Vertical Tasting Of Fiano d’Avellino DOCG 2007-2015

con Illaria Petitto - Donnachiara at VinoVip Cortina

Today I am posting an article written by Charles Scicolone, a friend and wine expert with a particular affection for Italy. His take on the tasting which I also attended is right on. My favorite was the amazing 2007 which showed beautiful tropical fruit and great acidity. I also favored the 2013 and the 2009. It was very interesting to see how Fiano developed through the years and showed the impact of the vintage. I will be working with Ilaria in the future and my policy is not to write about wines that I represent so I am happy that Charles has written such a great and in-depth post.


Filed under wines, Women in Wine

Kit’s Underground: Lovely Wine Shop at Columbus Circle Underground Food Court


I was excited to stop by a new wine shop – new to me, as it has been open for almost four months – at Columbus Circle’s new underground food court. I knew of the existence of the shop because I know the owner, Kit Pepper. The shop is lovely, light and airy with a funky and interesting selection.


I am really looking forward to trying the Chiaretto I bought from Kit whose palate I respect. She’s another person I met through the International Wine Center during my travels in the WSET world.


The shop has a $15 dollar table and more than half of the wines retail for under $20. Her selection is quite complete with sake and spirits as well. She noted there was a large Japanese community in the vicinity and the sake was a big draw for many.


I remember running into Kit months ago when she said she was opening a shop. It’s exciting to see someone succeed with their plans. Kudos Kit and love the new digs.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City Wine Shops, wine stores, wines, Women in Wine

Wine Wednesday: Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec


Another one of the rose’ wines I had this week, by Susana Balbo from Argentina, was a real treat. This 2015 was made from 100% Malbec in the Uco Valley in Argentina. The vineyards are very high, 1200 meters above sea level here and are hand harvested. While the alcohol was high, 14.5%, I didn’t find it overwhelming even on a hot Saturday afternoon in Williamsburg. It was fruity but not over the top with nice acidity thanks to the elevation, subtle aromatics and a long finish made it a great wine to pair with summer foods. It is also very affordable at around $13.


I love the fact that these wines are made by an Argentine woman, Susana Balbo. Susana got her degree in oenology in 1981, and became the first woman in Argentina to do so. Her career started in Cafayate, Salta province at Michel Torino winery, she then worked at other well-regarded wineries such as Martins and Catena Zapata.  According to her website, “She was the first Argentinean woman hired as a consultant to wineries worldwide: Spain, Chile, Italy, Brazil, Australia, and California. This experience allowed her to always be ahead of market trends and wine styles.” In 1999 she founded her own winery, Dominio del Plata. It is  located in the Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza. I loved Argentina when I visited some time ago. For a time I danced tango a bit and was quite taken with it.  I didn’t visit her winery at the time of my visit but  there is always a reason to go back.




Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Rose, wine wednesday, wines, Women in Wine