Women in the World of Wine: They’re Here to Stay

In the world of wine, there are more and more women “calling the shots”: for this text, 6 Portuguese winemakers were selected, but there could be more, many more!… From north to south of Portugal, and islands, that is, in each region , there are women making unforgettable wines. We invited Madalena Vidigal, from Entre Vinhas, a specialist in Wine Tourism, to leave us her suggestions.


When people ask me “what does it mean to be a woman in the world of wine?” I answer that it is the same as being a woman in the world. Point. With the challenges associated with this, there is still some distrust on the part of society. But, we are in 2021 and fortunately, a lot has evolved in recent years in this sector.

Without a doubt, in times not too distant ago, this was a world of men only. From the producer, to the winemaker, to the marketer and even to the consumer. They were the ones who studied and produced and made decisions when buying the wine to put on the table.

But those times are increasingly distant and many women have already paved the way for recent generations to now venture into growing up in the world of wine. Currently there are more and more winemakers, producers, commercials, journalists, critics and wine bloggers giving letters in Portugal, being highly respected by the entire public.

Women’s sense of taste and smell are very refined, our sensitivity to communicating brands is sophisticated and our taste in buying wine is increasingly demanding. Women have definitely reached an important place in the wine sector in Portugal and around the world, making men an excellent team.


Quinta da Côrte -Valença do Douro Portugal © Viaje Comigo
Quinta da Côrte -Valença do Douro Portugal © Viaje Comigo
Madalena Vidigal
Madalena Vidigal

From north to south, young winemakers are emerging who are already the result of this change and who promise to revolutionize wine in Portugal! Today I introduce you to six talented women and the excellent wines they create, all over the country.


Joana is the face of a family project created in 2009 in Monção, Vinho Verde region. Despite being trained and practicing law, she couldn’t say no to a very important woman in her life, her grandmother Maria, when she asked her to dedicate herself to the family farm.
In fact, until then it was the grandmother who was responsible for the farm’s vineyards, however grapes were only produced there for sale, but grandmother Maria thought it was time for the farm to produce a wine with its own brand and that was when Joana changed her life.
At the grandmother’s request, the new project was named after the family and Quinta de Santiago is today one of the reference producers in this region
Joana Santiago is a winemaker full of determination. At Quinta de Santiago she produces 7 different wines, exclusively from the Alvarinho grape variety and also ventures into partnerships with other producers, proving to be a creative and very promising winemaker!

Joana Santiago
Joana Santiago


Like many of the Douro’s most recognized winemakers, Marta Casanova also graduated from the University in Vila Real (UTAD). She studied Agricultural Engineering, focusing essentially on viticulture and oenology.
Since then, she has always worked on wines in the Douro region and always in relatively small companies, which allowed her to get involved in all departments, from oenology, viticulture, commercial areas and bureaucracy.
She is aware that this is still an area associated with the male universe, but she confesses that she has always liked the work of “men” and practical and physical work more. And this only makes her more proud and determined in her daily work.
Currently, she is director of oenology at Quinta da Côrte but is actually responsible for the entire operation of this wine farm.
“Being responsible for a farm is not just about being a winemaker or taking care of the vineyard. It’s about treating a house as if it were our own” says Marta, a practical, talented woman who is passionate about wines and her Douro. → Quinta da Côrte Experiences.

Marta Casanova
Marta Casanova
Quinta da Côrte -Valença do Douro Portugal © Viaje Comigo
Quinta da Côrte -Valença do Douro Portugal © Viaje Comigo
Quinta da Côrte -Valença do Douro Portugal © Viaje Comigo
Quinta da Côrte -Valença do Douro Portugal © Viaje Comigo


He was born in the Dão Region and has always had a strong connection to the land, as his grandparents have a farm with vineyards and olive groves. With a wine tradition in her family, Lúcia got used to participating in the farm’s agricultural activities and gained a taste for it!

She graduated in Chemistry, and it was while working in a winery laboratory that she discovered her passion for oenology. She realized that as a winemaker she could be in the cellar, in the vineyard, traveling and in contact with different people. As part of the Dão Sul team – wine producers such as Casa de Santar, Cabriz and Quinta do Encontro – she had the opportunity to work in several regions of the country and also in Brazil.
This experience earned her the distinction of being one of the 10 most influential winemakers in Portugal, by the newspaper “O Público” in 2010.
Having been at the forefront of the biggest projects in the Dão region was essential in being able to create Quinta da Mariposa. This is a project that, with a lot of care and dedication, Lúcia and her husband made grow 6 years ago. Today they produce eight references of white and red wine and already have a new wine cellar under construction.

Lúcia Freitas
Lúcia Freitas


Madalena was born into a family of agronomists and did not break tradition. Inspired by life linked to the countryside, and by her great-great-grandfather who was a wine producer, Madalena graduated in Enology and Viticulture in Lisbon.
And it was right in the vineyard that her passion for the world of wine grew: between pruning and defoliating, seeing the vine flowering and later “painting”. Then it was her first harvesting internship – at Quinta do Pinto in Lisbon – that made her see clearly that her future lay in oenology.
Like all curious people who want to go further, Madalena Sena-Esteves went to explore new regions in Portugal and the world: from the Douro she went to Sonoma in California, to Marlborough in New Zealand and Mosel in Germany.
In addition to oenology, other areas also caught his interest. Realizing the importance of external markets, marketing and with a growing curiosity to know who drank the wine, she also worked at ViniPortugal and is now the Brand Manager of a large Portuguese wine distributor. After all these experiences Madalena confesses to being passionate about wines and people, being able to talk about wine and communicate it to people “after all, how does the wine reach consumers after being made?”.

Madalena Sena-Esteves
Madalena Sena-Esteves


Born into a servant in the land of Talha Wine – Vila de Frades – it was inevitable that Teresa would grow up listening to the wine flowing through the wine cellars in the cellar and seeing her grandfather make the wine that everyone said was “the best”.
But her heart was not immediately won over by wine, before she decided to study Geological and Mining Engineering in Lisbon, but after an extracurricular internship in a mine in Angola she realized that this was not the path to follow.
Back in Portugal, the person who initially won her heart was a boy from Vidigueira, which made her spend a lot more time in her homeland. It seemed like everything was starting to make sense and Teresa finally went to study oenology so she could dedicate herself to the wine project already started by her grandfather Arlindo.
Teresa, now 25 years old, together with her husband, restructured the entire concept of the winery and are the young faces of Gerações da Talha, ensuring that the tradition of this ancestral wine is not forgotten! → Experiências na Gerações da Talha.

Teresa Caeiro

Teresa Caeiro


An agronomist by training but a winemaker by profession, Joana has Algarve, Azorean and Alentejo ribs. She lived in Australia, where she did an internship in harvesting, but it was in the Douro that Joana revealed herself and grew up as a winemaker in Portugal.
In fact, she is a winemaker, a passion that runs in the Maçanita family as her brother António is also a winemaker, and together, they have a wine project also in the Douro.
Joana is a curious woman and has done a little bit of everything related to wine. In addition to creating a company focused on Enological Consulting, she is a judge in international wine competitions and developed, in partnership with the Azores Tourist and Hotel School, an Enogastronomy project.
In 2016, she decided to share all this knowledge in her first book entitled “White or Red”, where she explains how to buy, serve, taste and pair wines.
For the last eight years Joana has dedicated herself with great enthusiasm and passion to Algarve wines as a consultant for five producers in this region, including Quinta João Clara and Morgado do Quintão.
Joana Maçanita’s perseverance and involvement has contributed to the rebirth of wine production in the southernmost region of Portugal, as well as recovering more forgotten grape varieties such as the Negra Mole paint, which currently stands as the queen grape variety of the Algarve.

Joana Maçanita
Joana Maçanita


Sofia is an Agricultural Engineer by training, but in practice she is much more than that. From an early age, she followed in the footsteps of her father Duarte in his field work on the island of Madeira and together with her two brothers, they created the Vinhos Terras do Avô project – a tribute to their grandfather Alfredo for whom they had great affection and closeness.
The Caldeiras are a very close-knit family, everyone contributes as much as they can to the running of the company. Sofia is a “do-it-all” in the company, in addition to helping with wine production, she is present at all events and fairs, is in sales, public relations and is also the one who welcomes, very well, all the visitors to her wine tourism. The tastings or lunches, which take place on the porch overlooking the “Véu da Noiva” waterfall, always feature various homemade snacks made by Sofia with the collaboration of her mother Júlia and sister Filipa.
Basically, the wine project is a factor that brings the family together, and makes everyone flock to Casa Terras do Avô, in Seixal, in the north of the Island.
In 2019, on the occasion of Sofia’s fiftieth birthday, Terras do Avô launched the sparkling wine “SoCa” (Sofia Caldeira) whose 2014 edition was the first sparkling wine ever produced on the island of Madeira. An excellent way for Sofia to celebrate such a fulfilling life!

Sofia Caldeira
Sofia Caldeira

Source: Mulheres em Viagem

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