Updated: May 19, 2020
Women in wine are making great strides with more female winemakers than ever before. However, of the nearly 4,000 wineries in California, about 10% of them have a woman as their lead winemaker.*
Making strides into this male-dominated industry has to start somewhere. Here are a few ambitious women in wine who broke the mold to become the “Firsts” in the industry.
First Female Winemaker and Winery Owner
In 1882, Hannah Weinberger took over the winery after her husband died. She ran it successfully until prohibition in 1920.*
First Female Winemaker After Prohibition
In 1965 Mary Ann Graf was the first woman to earn an enology degree from UC Davis. She went on to become a lead winemaker in 1973 at the Simi Winery in Sonoma.*
First Female Faculty Member in the Department of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis
Ann Noble was hired in 1974 as a faculty member of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. She developed the Wine Aroma Wheel which was designed to help novices and experts identify flavors and aromas in wine.*
First Female to Enter Top Management at a Winery
Zelma Long became a VP at Simi Winery in California in 1979. She then moved into the President/CEO role in 1989 until 1996. Zelma is considered a pioneer in the wine industry and has helped mentor many women along the way.*
These and many other ambitious women helped to lay the foundation for all of the women in the wine industry that followed.
Todays Female Winemakers Producing Top-Notch Wine
These women have earned coveted winemaker positions with well-known wine brands in Oregon and California. Keep on keeping on, Ladies!!