Celebrating legendary women in wine

By Vinomofo
about 5 years ago
7 min read

Women in wine are the minority; as in, only 1 in 10 winemakers and grape-growers are women. Why is this important? Because graduation rates are 50:50 male:female – so what the hell happens after that? It's certainly not that women can't cut it in any role that men can do in wine, and it's not that they're better suited to some other role in the wine industry. It's that they're marginalised, intentionally or not, by the idea that winemakers and grape-growers are traditionally male. Well, f*ck tradition. 

Some of the best winemakers I know are female, unfettered by ego or testosterone-fueled competition, but personal experience and generalisations only go so far. The fact that they've even thought about gender inequality is enough reason alone to shut up and listen to them about this stuff. For us guys, it often doesn't even register because it doesn't affect us; it's not something we've had to think about, circumvent or overcome. 

But it's BS having to have this conversation about equality in the 21st century – and we're not fans of BS. So let's push the pendulum a little by celebrating some of the female legends who make wine. These are the women who have forged a path that grows easier for those who follow. We all get to indulge in the vinous art they create.

These are just some of our incredible women in wine.

Clare Halloran of TarraWarra Estate

Once Clare Halloran found out being a real life winemaker was a thing, she was in. Turns out you don’t have to be born into it or marry it like the Royal Family. She headed straight for the (Yarra Valley) hills and it was love at first sight. She’s been around the block, spending time with the Mount Mary crew, and is now making kickass wines at TarraWarra Estate. 

What would Clare like to see happen for women in wine?

"The same as for women in any industry; respect, parity."

Clare's donated grapes to our Homeless Grapes Project Yarra Valley Chardonnay since day dot, so you know she's a good egg. And damn, can she make chardonnay. We found out much more about what Clare's proudest moments and biggest fails, plus what she’s drinking at the moment. Find out all her secrets here.

Kate Goodman of Goodman Wines

We probably don’t need to tell you that Kate Goodman is making waves in the wine industry. She’s got a CV that packs a punch, featuring the likes of Yarra Valley’s Punt Road Wines (Chief Winemaker), founding her own wine brand Goodman Wines as Director and Winemaker, and of course Winemaker at Coonawarra’s Penley Estate. When people talk about Kate they say she’s one of Australia’s best contemporary winemakers.

"Winemaking is my opportunity to translate what the seasons deliver into something delicious. I totally love my job. 

"I look forward to the time when winemakers are winemakers and not described by their gender."

Can't wait either. Meanwhile, click here to find out the tunes that inspire this pure legend of wine, plus how Kate's enormous talents could've been lost to another industry.

Corrina Wright of Oliver's Taranga

Corrina Wright's the sixth generation farming at Oliver’s Taranga, with a family winemaking history spanning some 180 years. Before taking on the historic vineyard in McLaren Vale she explored the world for a decade or so. She’s now a highly regarded winemaker and partners with cousin Brioni to create top-notch Vale vinos. She's also an advocate and role model for women in every industry, and an absolute straight-shooter.

"You do feel like a minority as winemaking and viticulture has been a male-dominated field for a long time. But, very excited to be part of a move towards cultural change as I am part of a working group to develop a ‘code of conduct’ for the wine community. Hopefully this can help to draw a line in the sand and find ways to even up the balance. I am also part of the Australian Women in Wine Awards advisory committee, which is helping to make sure that there are more visibility around all the incredible women that are out there fully killing it (the old- you can’t be what you can’t see!).

"I think 25% women in production sounds like a good number over the next 10 years. But I’ll take more."

Damn straight. We'd take more Corinna's any day of the week. Find out more about her general awesomeness here

Alexia Roberts of Penny's Hill

Alexia Roberts started out at none other than Penfolds and is now a winemaker at Penny’s Hill in McLaren Vale. Alexia wanted to be a forensic scientist as a kid, but the wine community managed to woo her and is lucky to have her, maybe thanks to roping her into McLaren Vale in one of the best vintages in recent history. To find out which vintage, and how many trophies are in her pool room, click here.

"I would love (and hope) that we get to a point where gender is no longer discussed. I hope we can highlight individuals who are just really good at their job. Let’s hope the future generation of women don’t even know there was ever an issue!"

Emma Raidis of Raidis Estate

Emma Raidis is co-owner and winemaker of Raidis Estate for the past 12 years. Growing up in Adelaide, the country’s wine capital, she moved to Coonawarra for love and ended up staying for the region, its people and the wines. And we’re so glad she did.

"I would really like to see 50/50 representation on ALL boards, panels and wine shows. Some will say that quotas mean that it's not merit-based. I used to be one of them, but in reality until there are positions for all, you will not get the people applying. You can’t be what you can’t see. Plus, having diversity on any board (be is gender, age, cultural background) is essential for broader thoughts and better thinking.

"...until there are positions for all, you will not get the people applying. You can’t be what you can’t see." - Emma Raidis

Click here to learn what winemaking means to Emma, her wine of choice on a Friday night and her opinion on the female influence in the Australian wine industry.

Liz Barnes of Star Lane

Liz Barnes is making her mark in the wine industry from a beautiful corner of Beechworth with Star Lane Winery and her husband, Brett. Words like magic, handmade and estate-grown are thrown around the vineyard - you can practically taste the TLC in each bottle. 

"One of the winemakers who would be one of my biggest inspirations would be Louisa Rose – chief winemaker at Yalumba. She is super cool and kind of like a cool rock chick of the wine industry. She has achieved some amazing stuff but is still so grounded and down to earth and just a really nice bird."

Not many can hold a candle to Liz's groundbreaking individuality, expressed naturally by her and her wines. Read more about this enigmatic pioneer here.

Di Miller of Bellarmine

It’s safe the say that Di Miller’s childhood dream of becoming an astronaut slash cowboy is off the cards for now, but she’s certainly had an interesting journey. She's unofficially the Riesling Queen of WA, and is even currently studying toward a Master of Wine certificate.

"There are a lot of great women working in production... they are everywhere and many are just simply quiet achievers. The influence is enormous."

Find out more about our lady Di here. And remember, you're in the presence of riesling royalty, so remember your manners.

We are committed to ALWAYS having wines available that are made by women. We already support so many women in the industry but we want to make this much more transparent and visible for our mofos. We want to make a real and lasting impact in an industry that is sadly still dominated by men. And this is the first step. Check out our Women in Wine collection here.

Hey Kids!

Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an offence:

  • to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (penalty exceeds $17,000).
  • for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (penalty exceeds $700)

Liquor Licence No. 36300937


At Vinomofo, we love our wine, but we like to also lead long and happy lives, and be good to the world and the people in it. We all try to drink responsibly, in moderation, and we really hope you do too.

Don’t be that person…

Acknowledgement of Country

Vinomofo acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continued connection to the land and waters of this country.

We acknowledge this place always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.