March will be a month for women, with International Women’s Day celebrated around the world on Wednesday 8th, before Mother’s Day is marked both home and abroad on Sunday 26th.

To celebrate, we’ve picked out some wineries where women play a key part – whether via management, ambassadorship or the actual day-to-day winemaking – and included a profile of each before recommending a wine in which they have had a key involvement…

Name: Stephanie Dutton
Company: Penfolds (Australia)
Position: Red Winemaker
Wine: Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet

Stephanie first joined Penfolds exactly 10 years ago in 2007, working at Magill Estate Restaurant and the Penfolds cellar door. In 2010, Stephanie joined the Penfolds red winemaking team, based at the Nuriootpa Winery in the Barossa Valley, and is now responsible for crafting Penfolds Koonunga Hill wines.

It is only fitting, then, to recommend one of her creations, Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet, a classically distinctive “Aussie Blend” that is very much a reflection of the Penfolds winemaking style and philosophy. Sourced from premium vineyards across South Australia, the wine is known for its full-flavoured style with excellent Shiraz and Cabernet fruit, with the former component providing fleshy fruit flavour while the latter provides a frame of fine grained tannins.

RSP €17.99 from good independent off licences nationwide

Name: Albiera, Alessia & Allegra Antinori
Company: Marchesi Antinori (Italy)
Position: Proprietors, Managers, Ambassadors, and more…
Wine: Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico

Sisters Albiera, Alessia and Allegra are the 26th generation of the famous Antinori wine family, an incredible statistic by any measure. Their father Piero Antinori brought the family firm to international attention in the 1970’s with the creation of the iconic Tignanello “Super Tuscan” wine, which helped revolutionise the Italian wine scene.

Today the firm is run by Albiera Antinori with the support of her sisters Allegra and Alessia, directly involved in the business. Marquis Piero is now the honorary president of the company.

Given the family is Tuscan to the bone, it is only fitting to choose their Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico. Consisting of 90% Sangiovese, the historic Tuscan grape, plus a dash of Merlot & Syrah, Pèppoli is a rich and supple expression of Chianti, and the latest vintage is also one of the first feature in the stunning new Antinori Chianti Classico winery and cellars at Bargino, Tuscany.

RSP €22.99 from O’Brien’s; Terroirs, Dublin; Molloy’s Off-Licences, Dublin; Mitchell & Son, Dublin; and all good off-licences nationwide

Name: Marimar & Cristina Torres
Company: Marimar Torres (USA)
Position: Proprietor & Brand Ambassador respectively
Wine: Marimar Torres Acero Chardonnay

Starting out as a representative for her family’s Spanish wines in the USA in the mid-1970’s, Marimar Torres set about establishing her own estate in the Russian River/Green Valley of Sonoma County in 1986. Today she is joined by her daughter Cristina who acts as Brand Ambassador for the winery, thus continuing the estate into the second generation.

Only 16 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean and 80 kilometres north of San Francisco, the estate is influenced by the sea’s cooling breezes and drifting fog, ideal for producing exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. One such example is the much-lauded Marimar Torres Acero Chardonnay, a Chablis-style Chardonnay with fragrant notes of lemon are combined with the classic, delicate flavours of Golden Delicious apple and white peach.

RSP €38 from Mitchell & Son, Dublin
Name: Marie Clay & Clare Dry
Company: Wolf Blass (Australia)

Position: Winemakers
Wine: Wolf Blass Silver Label Chardonnay

Of the five members of the Wolf Blass winemaking team, two are women, and collectively they have plenty of feathers in their caps, most recently picking up the 2016 International Wine Challenge Red Winemaker of the Year for an incredible third time.

Marie Clay (to the right in the picture above) discovered wine through her Dad’s stellar collection of South Australian reds, one of which just happened to be a 1979 Wolf Blass Black Label, the year of her birth, which was cracked open at her 21st birthday. Clare Dry, meanwhile, took just two days of work experience at a winery on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula for her to know she wanted a career in the wine industry, culminating, like Marie, in a Bachelor of Oenology (Wine Science) at Adelaide University.

Both winemakers profess their love of the cooler regions of Australia, so it would be very fitting to select the Wolf Blass Silver Label Chardonnay, sourced from premium vineyard sites in the Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley. These cool areas produce elegant Chardonnay with a fine mineral structure and great persistence of flavour.

RSP €15 in Tesco , Supervalu, and other supermarkets nationwide

Name: Mireia Torres Maczassek
Company: Jean Leon (Spain)

Position: Director
Wine: Jean Leon “3055” Merlot / Petit Verdot

Not only is polymath Mireia the director of the storied Jean Leon winery, she is also director of the Torres family’s Priorat outfit, not to mention having a hand in the development and implementation of the projects in Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Rueda.

On top of all that, she also serves as the chief winemaking consultant for the Torres group including projects such as the Pazo das Bruxas Albariño and the new super premium sparkling Vardon Kennett.

All this hard work calls into mind the organic “3055” range of Jean Leon wines, which recall the number of the taxi that the eponymous Jean Leon drove when he first reached New York from Spain. The rest is history, with Leon setting up the famous La Scala restaurant in Beverley Hill with his friend James Dean, and counted Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, John F Kennedy, Marlon Brando and Robert Wagner amongst its clientele.

The organic Jean Leon “3055” Merlot / Petit Verdot is an aromatic, elegant, seductive, velvety and contemporary wine with soft tannins – ideal to reflect with at the end of a hard day’s work.

RSP €19.99 from Redmond’s of Ranelagh, Dublin; O’Driscoll’s of Ballinlough, Cork; and Bradley’s of North Main Street, Cork