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Much more than just one day a year

by Marion Topitschnig

At Wine+Partners, we celebrate women not just on 8 March, but all year round. We are proud of our international network of great female wine and culinary experts – and we'd like to introduce some of them here.

Header photo: It's a world of women and we love it! We proved this in the masterclass which formed part of the 20th anniversary of The Berlin Tasting, organised with Magui Chadwick and Caro Maurer MW.


The women we celebrate!

Ute Watzlawick and Hirter Marketing Manager Marlies Heinricher-Woltran
© Ute Watzlawick

Ute & Marlies Heinricher-Woltran

Marlies is great, says Ute Watzlawick. Marlies Heinricher-Woltran worked successfully in the international food industry for many years before returning to her home country. She has now been in charge of marketing at the Hirter private brewery in Carinthia for a good year. A task that quickly became a cause close to her heart as she explains: "Hirter beer is a deeply emotional product, firmly rooted in the region and connected to the people here. This tradition must be nurtured, but at the same time we want to develop the Hirter brand innovatively. This area of tension makes my work particularly interesting." Marlies would like to see many more women in the beer industry: "Especially in production, women are excellent sensory experts who have a great sense for flavours. They could use these skills to develop new beer specialities." Marlies is great!

Marlies Auer and Kathi Gessl
© Marlies Auer

Marlies & Kathi Gessl

Kathi is great, says Marlies Auer. She is strong, passionate and courageous. On International Women's Day, we celebrate women like Katharina Gessl, an up-and-coming young winemaker whose motto 'Leben leben' (live life) inspires us to enjoy every day to the full (for example on a boat trip in the Wachau). In her home village of Zellerndorf in the Weinviertel region, she has been creating natural wines with a unique character since 2022. Her Grüner Veltliner 'Hawara' and the Pet Nat 'Barawararin' are an absolute must-have for all wine lovers. Katharina embodies the strength and determination that characterise women all over the world. Katharina is great!

Bettina Bäck and Elisabeth Füngers
© Julia Tilling

Bettina & Elisabeth Füngers

Elisabeth is great, says Bettina Bäck. The catering industry is fast moving. Restaurants open and close all the time and it's hard to keep track of everything. But Elisabeth Füngers from the cult restaurant Nil has been rocking the Hamburg gastronomic scene since 1989. Elisabeth is the sommelier and owner of Nil, where everything has been in flux right from the get-go. Somehow always the same, yet always different. "Eli", as we like to call her, has managed to make you feel at home in Nil for over 30 years and yet always serve up new, delicious discoveries on the plate and in the glass. A masterly achievement! That's why Elisabeth Füngers is great!

 

Astrid Rauch and Eva Barrata
© Tibor Rauch

Astrid & Eva Barrata

Eva Barrata is great. Tenuta Monteti is one of the most beautiful and exciting wineries on the Tuscan coast. Eva Baratta gave up her creative job in the film industry years ago to devote herself entirely to her parents' winery. She manages the 120-hectare vineyard with its vines and olive trees. With dedication and focus, Eva has a clear idea of her wines, which she consistently pursues and for which she can only be admired. You can also feel the quality and passion in her wines. Eva is great.

Henrike Heinicke and Antonia Schmitz
Henrike Heinicke

Henrike & Antonia Schmitz

Antonia is great. She is a nutritionist and private chef. Originally from Germany, she made Vienna her home a few years ago. Cooking is her way of meditating. When she can't fall asleep, she thinks about recipes. When she's on the tram, she thinks about cooking. And whenever she can, she tries out new dishes. She shares this passion at yoga retreats, family celebrations and fine dining events. She also gives nutrition workshops at schools in Vienna for children aged 6-18, making an important contribution to helping children learn about good nutrition. It's great to see how she has been able to turn her passion into a career, just like me. Antonia is great.

Lydia Schima And Kathrin Stubits
Lydia Schima

Lydia & Kathrin Stubits

Kathrin Stubits is great, says Lydia Schima. Every now and then you meet people who make you wonder whether they have found a loophole to extend their 24-hour day. "Where does she find the time and energy?". Kathrin Stubits is one such person. Her nature is somewhat reminiscent of the intro to Nina Simone's Sinnerman. Fast, somehow everywhere at once and non-stop with an infectious energy.

When Kathrin married winemaker Rainer Stubits, she simultaneously entered into a marriage with wine – you can literally feel her love, passion and curiosity for the subject. In addition to the winery on the Csaterberg, where they sensitively work together to perfect Welschriesling in particular, Kathrin takes care of the administrative tasks of the Eisenberg DAC with a infectious dedication to the wellbeing of the entire region, and constantly expands her knowledge with various further education. Not to mention, two very active, albeit adorable, teenage sons. Never hectic and always with a friendly laugh, Kathrin always ends meetings with the words: "Now I'm going to cook, we have a Buschenschank."

Where do you get this energy from, Kathrin? You're great.

Sarah Wapp and Pia Strehn
Sarah Wapp

Sarah & Pia Strehn

Pia Strehn is great, says Sarah Wapp. She has been running the family winery in Deutschkreutz, Burgenland, together with her brothers Andreas and Patrick since 2012. Early on, and long before the current hype, she focussed on Rosé wines and became the Queen of Rosé. But behind this success lies an immense amount of work. And courage. In the beginning, she was often ridiculed for specialising in Rosé but Pia refused to be deterred and "realised" that Rosé and barrique are an excellent combination. Her success proves that was the right decision: with finesse and character, her wines win in all competitions and categories. She has raised Rosé to a whole new level in Austria, while remaining totally grounded and loving the collaboration with her brothers. Pia is great!

Anne Krebiehl, Manuela Prieth, Catherine Walbridge and Julie Beckmann
Catherine Walbridge

Catherine & Anne Krebiehl MW, Manuela Prieth & Julie Beckmann

These three women are great! That's because Anne, Manuela and Julie epitomise the international spirit of International Women's Day in a wonderful way. Although they are originally from the USA, Germany and Austria, they have all carved out a niche for themselves in other countries and cultures, immersing themselves in the world of wine. Obtaining a Master of Wine is not easy for anyone, but Anne Krebiehl has done it in her second language to boot! Manuela wants to do the same and I appreciate Julie for her culinary flair and her unique sense of humour – getting together with her is always a pleasure! All three of them are simply great!

Marion Topitschnig & Madlaina Dosch
Marion Topitschnig

Marion & Madlaina Dosch

Madlaina is great, says Marion Topitschnig. Madlaina Dosch is celebrating the birthday of her Vinodea wine shop on 8 March - Happy Birthday! This is no coincidence, as Madlaina only presents wines from female winegrowers. Born in Switzerland, she is a career changer: "When I came to Austria, I fell into the 'wine barrel'." Madlaina currently has around 30 wineries in female hands in her range, including top female winemakers Silvia Heinrich, Birgit Braunstein and Dorli Muhr as well as many newcomers and insider tips like Sabine David from Carinthia and Andrea Wagner from Weinviertel. Madlaina is particularly fond of the lesser known female winemakers. "For me, it's about visibility, and I want to support those women who don't yet have a loud voice." She also does this at her tastings, which, like her shop in Vienna's Lange Gasse, are also popular with men. Because she offers female winemakers and their wines a stage with a great deal of passion and commitment. Madlaina is great!

Carnuntum winemakers and Elisabeta Aftin
Elisabeta Aftin

Elisabeta & Carnuntum's winemakers

Carnuntum's female winegrowers are great. They are power women who exude a passion and enthusiasm that you can't escape. What I particularly admire is their team spirit: not only does each of them run a great winery and produce outstanding wines, they also work with a lot of energy and ambition for the Carnuntum region as a whole.

For me, it is very inspiring to see how they are changing the wine landscape with sensitivity and innovation and heralding a new era, yet never forgetting their roots and preserving the family tradition. Carnuntum's women are great!

Victoria Nitsch and Catherine Steinlechner
Victoria Nitsch

Victoria & Catherine Steinlechner

Catherine Steinlechner is great, says Victoria Nitsch. Born in Canada, her journey took her to Austria, from idyllic Innsbruck to the vibrant city of Vienna. As a sommelier in The Wine Rebellion, I am fascinated by her infectious joy at work and her impressive ability to impart knowledge through storytelling. Her thirst for knowledge, whether about wine or beer, is palpable and infectious. At just 23 years old, Catherine is only at the beginning of her career and it remains exciting to see where her culinary journey of discovery will take her. My tip: pop into Catherine's shop in Burggasse and experience her enthusiasm for yourself. Catherine is great.

Birgit Indra and Katharina Albrecht
© Pamela Schmatz

Birgit & Katharina Albrecht

Katharina Albrecht is great! Women featuring in business, politics and culture are formative role models for young girls and women – and one of them is Katharina Albrecht, the managing director of the Academy of Austrian Film. Such female role models are shown in films or they are the directors behind the production, for example 'Die Dohnal' (director: Sabine Derflinger), 'Elfriede Jelinek - die Sprache von der Leine lassen' (director: Claudia Müller) and 'Favoriten' (director: Ruth Beckermann). These films definitely set a precedent, raising awareness and making women's careers visible at an early age, showing opportunities to girls and young women. "You can't start early enough with education," says Katharina Albrecht, who incidentially is great!

Mariana Krenn & Renate Stadlhofer

Marina & Renate Stadlhofer

Renate Stadlhofer is great, says Marina Krenn. Born in Styria, she hadn't worked as a chef since completing an apprenticeship...until September 2016, when she and her partner opened the HIRSCH28 WIRTShaus & delikatESSEN in Gross Gerungs in Waldviertel. As maître d' and head chef, she breathed new life into the old Austrian inn. Renate is committed to regionality and seasonality. This is why she is also a member of the Euro-Toqes association, which campaigns for natural foods, traditional recipes and the preservation of Europe's culinary heritage. "I tried a lot and messed up a lot," says Renate, which is how she found her line. Her courage has been rewarded: she was named 'Up-and-Comer of the Year 2019' in the Lower Austria Restaurant Guide and in the 2022 edition, the HIRSCH28 was named best wine tavern – an absolute recommendation. Renate is great!

Dorli Muhr and Paula Sidore
© Michael Holz

Dorli & Paula Sidore

Paula Sidore is great! Together with Valerie Kathawala, she founded the wonderful online magazine TRINK, in which she analyses wines from German-speaking regions in English with an intellectual approach. trinkmag.com is one of my favourite reads, because it doesn't just focus on dull points ratings, but always brings new, exciting perspectives to a subject that I thought I already knew everything about. What's more, Paula also rates for jancisrobinson.com. And she is also one of the best addresses when it comes to translating sophisticated wine texts from German into English. It is a privilege to take part in an interview with Paula Sidore. Her questions are subtle, profound, informed and precise. Paula is a shining light in this world of wine, where there is no shortage of self-important machos. Paula is great.