Spain’s top women winemakers

Paula Fandino


One of the leading ladies of Spanish sparkling wine, Paula Fandino is on a one-woman mission to put sparkling Albariño on the map. The head winemaker at Mar de Frades in Rías Baixas, known for its distinctive electric blue bottles, believes Albariño has the potential to eclipse Cava and produce Spain’s best sparkling wines.

The estate was the first in the region to champion sparkling Albariño with its Brut Nature, released in 2012. A master of both still and sparkling Albariño, Galicia born Fandino works with around 150 local growers in the Salnès Valley in Rías Baixas to select fruit from small parcels of vineyards close to the Atlantic coast. Since 2009, Fandino has been experimenting with lees stirring and oak ageing to explore the full potential of Albariño.

Who or what made you want to become a winemaker? Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved to work with my senses – particularly smell and taste. It’s also in my genes: my great-grandfather cultivated native Galician varieties like Albariño, Treixadura, Caiño and Sousón. A century ago these grape varieties weren’t valued at all, so he was quite unusual.

How would you describe your winemaking style? I’m an agronomist, which means I get to work with my first love – the vines.  In the winery, my main priority is to protect the vast aromatic range of the musts after the fermentation of the different strains and grapes.

What is the single wine you’re most proud of so far and why? Probably Finca Valises, which is made from a single vineyard of old vines. Ever since the first vintage, I’ve been responsible for the cultivation of the vines there. In the wine I’ve tried to combine youth with maturity and to bring elegance and charm from more intense work on the lees.

Has it been tough getting to the top of a male dominated industry? We’re used to thinking of the wine world as being dominated by men but, particularly in Galicia, there are many women who have been leading major projects, but because they’ve been in the background, they haven’t necessarily been recognised for it.

Women are rising to prominence now, having jumped the barrier, which isn’t easy, but it all comes down to being committed to what you do.

What is the most exciting aspect of the Spanish wine industry at the moment? Spanish wines are getting great international recognition at the moment. Before, the reference point for the great wines of Europe was France – but now, the training and knowledge of sommeliers worldwide has enabled Spanish wines to become regular features on the lists of great restaurants in America, Asia and Europe.

Desert island wine: Vega Sicilia Unico 2001 – I have one bottle left at home.

8 Responses to “Spain’s top women winemakers”

  1. Jose Ruisanchez says:

    thanks and you should have mentioned Doña Maria of Montebello/Osborne, a true pathbreaker for the others

  2. Ana says:

    I am very happy when I see a woman leading wine projects with such a success. Congratulations!!

  3. Jacob says:

    Daphne Gloria is not spaniard, should not have been included. She is a US citizen born in Switzerland, making 1 wine in Spain, and selling spanish wines in the United States of America.

  4. Women should not be downgraded from mere housewife alone. Even a housewife is a hard job, it’s a 24/7 workout. Now with regards to winemaking, it doesn’t state in any book or any law that a woman cannot be a winemaker. If a woman is equipped with the knowledge of doing so then so be it. Whether winemaker, engineer, carpenter, driver or any hard our jobs, we should acknowledge equality whatever genre we are in.

  5. Woman should come in front of the society without minding all restrictions from the family and the society. This article really an inspiration for woman who want to break the wall of restrictions. waiting for more posts like this.

  6. Feeling very proud to hear this.A women can do any thing.Very glad to hear that a women can lead something and made a success.It will be very inspiring for the whole other women community.

  7. showbox apk says:

    Really such a amazing post dear.

  8. chrisgail says:

    I want to say those women congratulation on their success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters