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McLaren Vale's Women in Wine

1991 Pam Dunsford
© Copyright
Across the history of the McLaren Vale wine region many great women have had significant impact on both the local sector and community, and the wider Australian wine industry.

From Eileen Hardy, who in 1938 became the brand ambassador for Hardy’s Wines and whose enormous contribution to the Australian wine industry was recognised in 1977 when she was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE); and Ursula Pridham, who was Australia's first female winemaker and established the Marienberg Winery in 1966, gaining national recognition for the quality of her wines; to Pam Dunsford of Chapel Hill Wines, who paved the way for women working as winemakers in Australia and in 1991 became the first woman to be awarded the title of the McLaren Vale Bushing Monarch in her own right.

Today we celebrate the many women of the McLaren Vale Wine Region - the viticulturists, grape growers, winemakers, agronomists and cellar door managers – whose passion for this region and this industry continues to forge the path and build on the legacy of the women past.

McLaren Vale's Women in Wine

(to name just a few)

Alexia Roberts Supplied2024
Alexia Roberts is a dynamic industry leader with over 20 years of experience in the wine sector. Alexia responsible for the overall management of Penny’s Hill Estate and Gemtree Wines; two of the Randall Wine Group’s premium wine businesses. Alexia is an advisory board member of the Australian Women in Wine and is an alumni of the Wine Australia Future Leaders program. In 2022 Alexia launched her own wine brand, Larnook.
Alexia Roberts
General Manager - Penny's Hill and Gemtree Wines;
Owner and Winemaker - Larnook
Anna Fisher Vineyard 1 of 2 Supplied2024
Anna Fisher, co-owner of Zonte’s Footstep Pty Ltd & Off Track Wines, is passionate about life and infuses the brands with her adventurous spirit and commitment to exploration. Anna focuses on learning, having fun, ensuring dependability and authenticity and living as a free-spirit not confined by all the conventions of rules. Thriving on challenges driven by outcomes, she gets immense joy in seeing a strategy or innovation operational within an organisation.
Anna Fisher
Co-Owner & Grape Counter
Zonte's Footstep
Bec Hardy Tipsy Hill portrait
Bec is a 6th generation member of and the first female vigneron from one of Australia’s oldest wine families, the Hardys. With a degree in Viticultural Science, she has worked for two decades across the UK and Australian wine markets. After establishing Bec Hardy Wines in 2015 and acquiring the Pertaringa wine brand from her father’s business in 2020, she is now making her own way in the Australian wine world.
Bec Hardy
Viticulturist & Director
Bec Hardy Wines
Bernice Ong Ministryof Clouds2 Supplied2024
Launching in late 2013, James Halliday featured Ministry of Clouds in his ‘Top 10 New Wineries’ list. Bernice helps craft wines that are pitched towards mid-weight, loaded with subtle detail that were both fruit-bright and savoury, and always made with food in mind.
Bernice Ong
Briony Hoare Beach Road Wines Credit Ben Macmahon Supplied2024
With a degree in oenology and 28 years of wide-ranging experience across corporate, consulting and small business, Briony is a mother, business owner, and winemaker running her small wine brand, cellar door restaurant, and wedding venue in McLaren Vale South Australia. Briony values her team, good coffee, a vibrant local community, watching her children play local sport, and living in McLaren Vale.
Briony Hoare
Winemaker / Co-Founder
Beach Road Wines
Corrina Wright T0800 small
Corrina Wright, is the leading voice of the Oliver family’s sixth generation. The family have been growing grapes in their McLaren Vale vineyard for more than 180 years. Passionate about her home, her vocation and local community she has served on the boards of the MVGWTA, ASVO, WFA and currently sits on the board of the AWRI and AWIW. Corrina was the 2019 ASVO Winemaker of the year and the inaugural recipient of FBA’s Leading Women in Family Business Award in 2021.
Corrina Wright
Winemaker & Director
Olivers Taranga
Emma Shirvington Shirvington Wines Supplied2024
As a young, third generational member of her families boutique wine business, Emma-Lee is driven to sustain the Shirvington families name in the McLaren Vale region. Highlighting that the most important thing to them is experience and the relationships they build with their customers.
Emma-Lee Shirvington
Sales and Brand Manager
Shirvington Wines
Wirra23 403 Emma Wood
Emma joined Wirra Wirra in 2022 after a diverse career across Australia and leading Penfolds’ French winemaking venture. Emma has spent over 8 years in the McLaren Vale region working with growers, vineyards and wineries to optimise quality each vintage. She is passionate about the region with its focus on sustainable farming practices and consistent climate, giving her the ability to create fragrant varietally distinctive wines.
Emma Wood
Chief Winemaker
Wirra Wirra
Irina Santiago Brown Supplied2024
Dr Irina Santiago-Brown is a world leader in sustainable viticulture. Under Irina's stewardship, Inkwell Wines is the first Regenerative Organic Certified vineyard in Australia. Irina loves making wines that express the “fingerprint of place” of the increasingly complex eco-systems at Inkwell Wines’ vineyard.
Irina Santiago-Brown
Inkwell Wines
Jodie Armstrong Journey Home Wines
McLaren Vale-based winemaker and viticulturist Jodie Armstrong prefers not to charge through life in a straight line. Instead, she meanders with her beloved donkeys by her side. Armstrong is on a mission to help others to do the same with her Walking Donkey Wine Tours. All this, in addition to her important role supporting and guiding McLaren Vale's growers in her role as Grower Liaison Officer for McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association.
Jodie Armstrong
Winemaker & Viticulturist
Journey Home Wines
Kim Jackson Head Shot
Kim Jackson has been meticulously curating small batch, premium red and white wines for Shirvington since its inaugural vintage in 2001. Prior to establishing herself in McLaren Vale, she honed her craft through vintages in esteemed wine regions such as Burgundy and Sonoma Valley. Outside of her dedication to winemaking, Kim finds joy in exploring scenic trail walks, indulging in culinary creativity, and cherishing moments with her husband and three teenage daughters.
Kim Jackson
Senior Winemaker
Shirvington Wines
Kimberely Cooter cropped Supplied2024
Kimberly Cooter is continuing her family tradition of winemaking under her Cooter & Cooter label, as well as for her family winery, The Hedonist. Both labels lean to the midweight, with organic and biodynamic viticulture, earlier picking and a preference for large-format oak creating food-friendly wines to suit the idyllic McLaren Vale lifestyle.
Kimberly Cooter
Maria Bottin Vigna Bottin Supplied2024
Maria Bottin, born into a traditional Calabrian family, and her husband Paolo, of Veneto background, are passionate wine growers and producers. Together, they founded a family-owned Cellar door and Osteria, where Maria's heartfelt hospitality shines. Beyond a job, it's her endeavor to share their heritage, forging genuine connections, and crafting unforgettable experiences for guests. With Maria at the helm, it's more than hospitality; it's a legacy of love.
Maria Bottin
Mary Hamilton Supplied 2024
Mary is the 6th generation of the family who brought the first grape vines into South Australia, planted them, and made the first wine. After 186 years Mary is the first female to oversee the family's legacy in McLaren Vale, where she runs Hugh Hamilton wines. Their moniker is the Black Sheep - a signal that they do things their own way and won't be confined by tradition.
Mary Hamilton
Melissa Brown Bio Photo Supplied2024
As Chief Viticulturist of Gemtree Wines, Melissa manages 92 hectares of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards owned by herself and winemaker husband, Mike Brown. In addition, Melissa’s business operates a vineyard management service. She has project managed and overseen the development of the Gemtree Eco Trail since 2001. Melissa manages tourism business development and the Tasting Room for Gemtree Wines.
Melissa Brown
Viticulture and Tourism Manager
Gemtree Wines
Paige and Julie Ortus Wines 2
Julie and Paige are the mother and daughter team behind Ortus Wines. Julie had a wine sales business when they realised that their family originally settled in the Barossa but didn’t continue through the generations. They started ‘Ortus’ (meaning re-birth in latin), Julie purchasing a vineyard/cellar door, and Paige returning to Uni for winemaking.
Julie & Paige Cooper
Winemaker and Owner
Ortus Wines
Renae vineyard 2 Supplied2024
Renae Hirsch likes to make and drink wines that have a purity of fruit expression, showcasing varietal, regional and individual vineyard characteristics. She aim to guide wines to maintain freshness and to have balance, elegance, and finesse; with the intention of allowing the potential of the fruit to be realised.
Renae Hirsch
Chalk Hill Wines, Hugo Wines, Willunga 100, Aramis Vineyards
Sarah Marquis Mollydooker Portrait226
Sarah Marquis started her career at her family’s business. Since then Sarah has developed many successful wine labels and is now CEO and Chief Winemaker at Mollydooker Wines. Her wines have earned numerous awards both locally and internationally including three times in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of the World. Sarah also feels passionately about making a difference in the community and, through Mollydooker, continually supports three major charities.
Sarah Marquis
CEO / Owner
Mollydooker Wines
Skye Salter 191003 PARALIAN 164 Supplied2024
Skye Salter is Winemaker and Co-Owner of Paralian Wines a small McLaren Vale wine brand that she launched with her husband and fellow winemaker, Charlie Seppelt in 2018. Paralian focuses on small batch single vineyard wines, the reds (Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon) from Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale and their Chardonnay from Kenton Valley in the Adelaide Hills.
Skye Salter
Paralian Wines
Sophie Angove Women in Wine Headshot Supplied2023
Sophie has experience across many aspects of the family business, including cellar hand work, bottling and sales. She now focusses on viticulture, sustainability and QA systems, and enjoys researching and implementing more sustainable ways to manage vineyard ecosystems.
Sophie Angove
Viticulture, Quality and Sustainability Officer
Angove Family Winemakers
Suibhan Wilcox edit
Relocating to South Australia 8 years ago, Siubhan has made McLaren Vale her home away from her Cape Town home. With a Bachelor’s degree and skills in understanding the tomato sauce customer, she finds herself entrenched in wine and McLaren Vale by working and managing Cellar Doors. She is the manager at Hardys Tintara Cellar Door developing successful tourism experiences.
Siubhan Wilcox
Cellar Door Manager
Hardy's Tintara
Victoria Angove Supplied2024
Victoria has experience in all aspects of the family business, including cellar hand work, bottling, sales, marketing and management. She has been on the Board of Directors since 2006 and is committed to driving the family business forward. Additionally, Victoria serves as a director of Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated and as a director on the Board of the RAA.
Victoria Angove
Joint Managing Director
Angove Family Winemakers

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