Raising a glass to the talented female producers this International Women’s Day

As today is International Women’s Day, Times Drinks Editor James Viner selects four wines and a beer made by female drinks makers to mark the event…


Officially celebrated for the first time in 1911, International Women’s Day is an event where countries all over the world connect in the celebration of women’s accomplishments. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity.

To mark the occasion, I have selected five favourite superior sips made by talented leading ladies who continue to make their mark in the wine and craft beer industries. Cheers to IWD! Try these…


  1. 2021 Robert Oatley Signature Series Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia

Spot-on white peach, toasted hazelnut, citrus and vanilla-scented Chardonnay from Margaret River, Western Australia’s best-known wine region. All in balance, all in harmony; matured in French oak barriques (20% new). The finish is svelte and long. Very smart. As is common elsewhere in Margaret River for white wines (except in the coolest years), malolactic fermentation was blocked to retain the naturally high acidity levels. Winemaker: Debbie Lauritz.

£11.50-£13.56, Co-op, Majestic & WineDirect


  1. 2014 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza, Bodegas R. López de Heredia, Rioja Alta, Spain

From its base in the historic Barrio de la Estación, or Station Quarter, in Haro (Rioja’s unofficial capital) – from where trains shipped wine to Bordeaux when France’s wine industry was wrecked by phylloxera (the root-feeding aphid eventually reached Rioja at the start of the twentieth century with devastating socioeconomic results for growers) – López de Heredia has been fashioning classic Riojas since 1877. Try this earthy, supple, fine-boned, subtly oak-aged (in neutral American oak for around three years) Tempranillo-led Rioja from vines whose average age is around 40 years. It’s a great introduction to the cult wines of one of Rioja’s arch-traditionalists and a gold-plated bargain with beautiful, savoury, textural tannins unfurling all the way through. It would happily sit alongside roast lamb. Classy.

The winemaker, María José López de Heredia is the fourth generation to run her family’s winery. Her delicate world-class 2010 Viña Tondonia Tinto Reserva, latterly Liv-ex’s (a global marketplace for the trade) most traded Rioja wine by volume, features in Berry Brothers & Rudd’s (BBR) limited-edition International Women’s Day 2023 six-bottle mixed case (£225), which was put together by BBR’s predominantly female-led buying team, which includes Masters of Wine Catriona Felstead and Barbara Drew. All six wines are made by brilliant female winemakers and are superb choices for splendid spring drinking (BBR itself is a female-founded business, set up in 1698 by a woman known only as ‘the widow Bourne’). £18-£21.95, The Wine Society and Berry Bros & Rudd. I also recommend Heredia’s more complex 2011 Viña Bosconia Tinto Reserva, available from March 15 at Berry Bros & Rudd (£33).


  1. 2021 Egy Kis Dry Furmint, Barta Winery, Mád, Tokaj, Hungary

I tried a lot of superior Hungarian dry Furmint (white) still wines last during ‘Furmint February’ and highly recommend this delightfully accessible, true-to-type example as the perfect affordable introduction to Hungary’s signature, late-ripening, flagship grape. It’s a delicious, lip-smacking, unoaked, medium-bodied example from Tokaj in the north-eastern corner of the country, a region with hundreds of extinct volcanoes. Think orchard/stone fruits and ripe limes peppered by pockets of juicy, salty acidity. Chill slightly and drink lustfully over the next year. Try it with tandoori fish or sushi. Winemaker: Vivien Ujvari. £15.55 from Corney & Barrow


  1. Exton Park RB32 Brut Reserve NV, Hampshire, UK

Prepare yourself for an exquisitely crafted beauty of an English sparkling wine. Exton Park’s top Brut Reserve is exceptional, with well-balanced acidity, a whiff of baked apple and light notes of citrus, peach, honey and brioche, followed by a mineral twirl. Blended from a selection of 32 old reserve wines, this is a cracking Hants sparkler derived from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and aged a minimum of three years on lees. It’s an impressive, structured and well-shaped wine of great finesse and class, with persistent delicious flavour through the long and satisfying finish. Winemaker: Corinne Seely.

£39-£42.95, Exton Park, EW Wines, The Whisky Exchange, Adnams, Noble Green Wines


  1. Marks & Spencer Helles Lager, Harbour Brewing Co., Cornwall, UK

Beer is one of the world’s popular drinks and 90 per cent of all beer consumed is lager. This classic-tasting, highly drinkable Bodmin-brewed pale golden lager (‘helles’ means bright or pale) is crisp, light and refreshing. The gentle aromas and flavours are of bready malts, lemon peel and herbs. Uncomplicated, but satisfying. One for Madras curry or sausages. Head Brewer: Genevieve Upton (formerly at Marston’s Brewery). £1.80-£1.90 Marks & Spencer & Ocado, 330ml can


Visit: internationalwomensday.com to find out more. Use the hashtag #IWD23 and follow #EmbraceEquality for online conversations on social media.


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