Spain’s top women winemakers

María Larrea


Having worked as technical director of CVNE since 2006, María Larrea is now chief winemaker for the iconic Rioja estate and custodian of top drop Imperial Gran Reserva, the 2004 vintage of which clinched first place in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2013.

Happier to fly under the radar and stay largely out of the public eye, Larrea cut her teeth in Bordeaux and the Languedoc, and later Navarra and La Mancha before returning to her homeland of Rioja to make wine.

“The biggest challenge of my career has been the responsibility of trying to maintain and improve the quality of the wines we produce and meet consumer expectations,” says Larrea, whose happiest time of the year is during harvest. Her great aim is “to make a wine which will astonish”.

Who or what made you want to become a winemaker? I grew up in Elciego, a small village in Rioja Alavesa surrounded by vines. My family has always been involved in wine. Since I was very small I have been interested in all the wine process from the vine to the wine transformation.

Who is your winemaking inspiration? When I started working at CVNE the winemaker was Basilio Izquierdo. Over the years I worked with him, he taught me how to produce wines and the art of oak aging. Another person who has inspired me has been Patrick Leon, the great winemaker from Fronsac.

What is the single wine you’re most proud of so far and why? Imperial. It’s part of more than 100 years of history of CVNE and has been a source of great joy. We produce this wine with grapes from our best vineyards and in my opinion it’s a wine that always maintains the expectations of great quality.

Has it been tough getting to the top of a male dominated industry? A few years ago it was a male profession, but today women are present in almost all the sectors, from viticulture to winemaking, and there are a great number of very good female winemakers in Spain. The majority of the team at CVNE are women.

Desert island wine: Château d’Yquem 2000 due to its elegance and complexity.

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