The history of the Argentine wine industry is full of women who have made major contributions to the field. A couple of the most famous are Susana Balbo, the first woman oenologist in the country, and Laura Catena, who runs the family winery. But many women in the wine industry hold leading roles at different wineries and institutions..
Today a new generation is expanding women’s presence in viticulture, professionals who are having a major influence on the development of the industry.
Let’s meet 12 leading argentine women in wine:
Marina Gayan. In 1999 Gayan moved to London to study for her Masters of Wine degree, which she obtained in 2003, making her the first Master of Wine from South America. Since then she has specialized in viticultural marketing. Back in Argentina, she has become leading expert on wines from the region and is running a training course for South American Master of Wine hopefuls.
Paz Levinson. Renowned as one of the most influential sommeliers in the world, Argentina is lucky to have Levinson as an ambassador. Based in Paris, she is the Wine Director at Groupe Pic and often travels the world giving seminars on wine. She was recently named Regional Chair for Argentina at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Adrianna Catena. Having earned a PhD in History from Oxford, Catena is also the co-creator, along with Alejandro Vigil, of El Enemigo Wines, one of the most prestigious wine projects in Mendoza. In spite of her low profile, she has become an ambassador for Argentine wine dedicated to bringing the best of the country viticulture to the world. A good reason to be one of the leading Argentine women in wine to follow.
Julia Halupczok. The oenologist at Finca Sophenia, Halupczok represents a new generation of women in wine and is one of the leading figures at Gualtallary, Valle de Uco. She also has her own project, PULSO, which focuses on oenology linked to its point of origin. Her creations are highly rated across the world.
Pamela Alfonso. Currently studying to become an agricultural engineer, Pamela Alfonso is also in charge of wine at Bodega Alta Vista, which produces an interesting collection of Single Vineyards from different regions of Mendoza. That makes her an expert in the expressions of the most important terroirs in the country, knowledge that she enjoys sharing with colleagues and consumers.
Sofía Elena. Argentina has several extreme and little explored terroirs where making quality wine is a real challenge. Elena is a young winemaker who, after working in New Zealand and Burgundy, came to Chubut, the southernmost tip of Patagonia’s wine region. There, she is producing whites and reds at Bodega Contracorriente that reveal the great potential of innovative oenology in Argentina.
Paula Gonzalez. In spite of her youth, González has already worked at several major wineries with top oenologists. That learning curve eventually led to her becoming the head winemaker at Pyros Wines, a winery with roots in the Pedernal Valley, San Juan. There, her job is to bring out the essence of the captivating mountain terroir.
Maricruz Antolin. The oenologist at Bodega Krontiras since 2008, Antolin is the face of biodynamics in Mendoza. Always ready to share her experience, in 2019 she founded Vinodinámicos, the first Argentine group focused on promoting the ideas of Rudolf Steiner.
Daniela Mezzatesta. A dedicated researcher, Mezzatesta is an agricultural engineer who spends her days studying the effect of soils on the quality of wine. At the Catena Institute of Wine she has become a specialist in the terroirs of the Uco Valley, expertise she shares at conferences and seminars.
Noelia Torres. After working for a decade with Paul Hobbs, today Torres is in charge of Ruca Malen. There, she puts her experiences in the US and France to good effect expanding the winery’s profile with wines made from grapes from different areas of Mendoza, introducing new styles and varietals.
Mariana Onofri. One of the first woman sommeliers in Mendoza, today Onofri is one of the most prominent faces of Productores Amigos, a group of winemakers looking to promote their wineries, which may be small but nonetheless make excellent wines. She spends her days making Alma Gemela and Zenith Nadir, the labels she bottles along with her husband, and organizing fairs to promote wine culture.
Valeria Gamper. The current holder of the title Best Sommelier in Argentina, Gamper has led an interesting career in the wine industry. She has worked in restaurants, as a winery representative and a wine educator. Today she is preparing to represent the country in forthcoming international sommelier competitions.