Four wines to celebrate International Women’s Day in style

John Wilson: Heidi Schröck, Beatrice Contini Bonacossi, Lynne Coyle and Barbara Boyle are at the top of their game

In the run-up to International Women’s Day, let us celebrate four wines chosen and made by highly successful women working in the wine business.

Heidi Schröck was one of the first female winemakers in Austria. “Certainly the first one to put it on the label,” she says. “I didn’t think it was too difficult, but looking back now it was not easy. It was physically tough. I used to contact any female winemaker around the world I read about and made some lifelong pen friends.” In 2001 she was a founder member of Eleven Women and their Wines, a group promoting female wine producers. Schröck is based in Rust on the Neusiedlersee.

The Capezzana estate is in the Carmignano region to the northwest of Florence. Wine and olive oil has been made here since AD 804 and probably much longer. It is owned and run by two women, both part of the Contini Bonacossi family. I have happy memories of Beatrice arriving in The Irish Times to host a tasting of her wines. From her suitcase she removed a bottle of new season olive oil from her estate, as well as some bread, salami and cheese, all to be consumed with her lovely wines. Her sister Benedetta looks after the winemaking.

Lynne Coyle is one of five female Masters of Wine in Ireland. As wine director with O’Briens, she holds one of the most powerful positions in the Irish wine trade. She has also found time to make wine, including the Geal, featured here, made in collaboration with Sonia Costa in Lagar de Costa. “I worked in retail shops, so I was used to working in a physical environment. No allowances were made for being a woman; you still had to be able to lift a case of wine. I don’t think of myself as being a woman in the wine industry, but someone trying to do my job.”

Barbara Boyle, another Master of Wine, runs Wine Mason with her husband. It is a specialist firm of wine importers with a mouth-watering array of wines. “Diversity in any industry is key. It is important to champion people, so when I have females working with me, I probably take more of a mentorship role. It is important to be generous. I hope we have each other’s backs. But we support men, too.”

Jasmine Hirsch is part owner and winemaker at Hirsch Bohan Dillon in California. “Infectious, so knowledgeable, she makes you very enthusiastic about her wines,” says Barbara Boyle, who stocks the wines.

Geal Albariño 2022, Rías Baixas

13%, €21.95 (down from €24.95)

Crisp and refreshing with lemon zest, green apples and pears with a distinctive saline finish. Try it with all manner of seafood.

From: O’Briens

Junge Löwen 2021, Heidi Schröck & Söhne, Burgenland, Austria

13.5%, €22.95

A fresh medium-bodied red wine with piquant sour cherry and plum fruits, and an attractive spicy touch. Drink it with charcuterie or white meats or a lightly spiced grilled pork chop.

From: Drink Store, D7; Blackrock Cellar; Wineonline.ie

Barco Reale di Carmignano 2020, Capezzana, Italy

13.5%, €24.95

Ripe blackcurrants, subtle oak, with a refreshing twist of acidity and black peppers. Pair it with roast red meats.

From: theallotment.ie; Red Island Wine, Skerries; Red Nose Wine, Clonmel; Clontarf Wines; wineonline.ie

Hirsch Bohan Dillon Pinot Noir 2021, Sonoma Coast

12.9%, €69

Perfumed with a huge concentration of raspberry, redcurrant, and strawberries, lingering nicely. Gorgeous now but will improve still further.

From: Mitchell & Son; wineonline.ie; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Avoca Ballsbridge

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