Ladies Reign in Chile

NYC played host to 8 of Chile's best-known women winemakers.

Let it be said that Chile is not your typical macho Latin Country…not in politics nor wine. Last year Michelle Bachelet was elected Chile's first female president and among Chile's roughly 200 wineries a whopping 40% of the winemakers are women.

In a show of solidarity and to get the word out about the large role Chilean women play in that country's winemaking industry, 8 of Chile's best-known women winemakers came to New York on October 22 to show off their wines and to talk about the role women are holding in what many observers believe is South America's most progressive country.

Leading the group of eight was María Luz Marín, founder and winemaker of Casa Marín in Chile's coastal San Antonio Valley. A top maker of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc for the past five plus years, Marín made the point that more often than not women tend to have more patience than men, are mellower in their day-to-day attitudes, and, arguably most important of all, have keener senses of smell and taste. With all that going in their favor, Marín said, it makes sense that women are doing quite well in the winemaking field, which she says was exclusively male just 15 years ago.

Other members of the group, which hopes to someday create an official Chilean women winemakers association, were Cecilia Torres of Santa Rita; Pilar González of Carmen; Ana Maria Cumsille of Altaïr; Andrea Leon of Casa Lapostolle; Cecilia Padilla of Cono Sur; Cecilia Guzmán of Haras de Pirque; and Marcela Garate of Odfjell.

It should be noted that in most cases these women work alongside head winemakers or co-winemakers who are men. Still, girl power has taken on a new meaning in Chile.

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