Spain’s women in wine to watch

Paola Medina

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Seville-born Paula Medina has worked for her family estate, Williams & Humbert in Jerez, since 2010, and today serves as technical director and winemaker. Having earned her winemaking stripes at 14 Viñas in Castilla la Mancha, the lure of Sherry proved too strong to resist.

“Few wines are able to ignite such passion in a winemaker as Sherry, with its diversity and unique production process,” she enthuses. Keen to respect the individual personality of each of the wines she makes, rather than change or influence their style, she hopes to bring out the best in them.

Medina is custodian of one of the oldest and complete collections of vintage Sherries in Jerez, from which she can cherry-pick barrels for bespoke bottlings, such as her forthcoming 2006 Fino release.

How would you describe your winemaking style? My philosophy is to respect the personality and character of the wines. A winemaker mustn’t try to change the inherent character of the wine, but to help them age and show their best qualities. The biggest challenge is to commit ourselves to our wines, our land, our traditions and our history.

What is the single wine you’re most proud of so far and why?  I’m very excited about our Sherry vintages. We have the oldest and most complete vintage collection in Jerez – a treasure we’re just beginning to reveal. I’m particularly proud of our 2006 fino – the first ever vintage fino in Jerez.

Has it been tough getting to the top of a male dominated industry? Everything that is worthwhile in life needs hard work, dedication and passion. Luckily for me at Williams & Humbert we believe in equality and there are many women in management positions. Added to this there are more and more women in winemakers in Jerez.

Desert island wine: Williams & Humbert Fino 2009: an elegant vintage with great complexity.

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