Top 50 most powerful women in wine: 10-119th December, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
8. JUDY LEISSNER
Originally from Hong Kong, Leissner took over Shanxi-based Grace Vineyard from her father in 2002 at the tender age of 24, having left a post at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong. In the space of 12 years, she has turned Grace into both a globally recognised brand and a flagship for Chinese fine wine.
The 200-hectare estate produces around two million bottles a year, from flagship red blend Deep Blue to top wine Chairman’s Reserve, which is sold in luxury bars and hotels in China’s leading cities. Leissner, who has become something of a celebrity entrepreneur in China, plans to develop wineries in other regions, each with their own branding.
This May, we voted her our 2012 Asian Wine Personality of the Year for her work in drawing global attention to the quality potential of Chinese wine. Leissner has taken an experimental approach at Grace, planting the likes of Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz, and using screwcaps to close some of her wines.