If wine is a hug in a glass; what does that make these winemaker moms? Women winemakers are a force in the South African wine industry. Female winemakers in SA are making waves both locally and internationally with their ground-breaking wines. We have a plethora of skilled women winemakers who are producing wines of acclaim and turning the spotlight ever more on SA. And all the while closing the gender gap in the male-dominated wine industry.
All of the above is no small feat, but then many of these winemakers add ‘mother’ to their résumé too. Here are a few of our favourites.
Samantha O’Keefe makes highly acclaimed wines from her vineyard just outside Greyton. Her story is the stuff of legends: when she started Lismore, she was a single mom to two very young boys, with mounting debts trying to make wine in an area where everyone said it was impossible. Boy, did she show them. Lismore Wines are now highly acclaimed, raking in the awards both locally and internationally.
Try: Lismore ‘The Age of Grace’ 2017
Trizanne Barnard had the courage to quit formal employment and jump into the great unknown by creating her own wine brand. Her move that’s brought her great success. “Establishing a business is never a solo game, and there are always a lot of players behind the scenes,” says Trizanne. “My husband and life partner Malan is a pillar of strength and encouragement to whom I owe so much gratitude. Then my two beautiful boys also inspire me every day. Through their example I have learnt to enjoy life’s journey and to appreciate even the smallest things in life.”
Try: Reserve Syrah 2016
Norma Ratcliffe is often referred to as ‘The First Lady’ as one of the first woman to make wine in South Africa. Norma is the family matriarch and has been head-winemaker at Warwick since the late 1970s. She was the first person to launch a Cabernet Franc in South Africa and she developed the first Cape Blend in South Africa, a blend of Pinotage, Cabernet and Merlot. She was also the first woman to become a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and the only woman to serve as Chairperson. Whew. Can we add that along the way she brought up two kids, Jenny and Mike—the latter whom now heads Warwick Wines.
Try: The First Lady Dry Rosé 2017
Corlea Fourie can be aptly described as an iron fist in a velvet glove. “Calm, precise, intuitive and softly spoken; always up for a challenge” is how CEO Petrus Bosman describes. And it’s with quiet conviction the steers the winemaking ship at Bosman, and while watching wave after wave of awards roll in. When not knee-deep in grape skins, she’s mother to twin boys and an older girl.
Try: Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2016