Celebrating Women Makers of the Past, Present and 'Future'

While men have taken the glory (and many of the jobs) in wine and spirits for centuries, the truth is, women have always been in the vineyards, cellars, and distilleries of the world. From the women in ancient Mesopotamia charged with guarding wine recipes to wise women distilling curative brews straight through history to pioneers like Hannah Weinberger, Napa Valley’s first female winemaker, and Marianne Barnes, the first woman to be named a Kentucky Bourbon Master Distiller since Prohibition, women have long been making "her-story" in the industry. In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a closer look at some of our favorite female makers past and present. 

Marie Brizard From The Greene Grape

Marie Brizard

The story of Marie Brizard dates back to 1755, with an act of kindness and a recipe. According to legend, Marie helped nurse an ill sailor from the Caribbean back to health. In return for her generosity, he shared a recipe for aniseed liqueur. Marie loved the recipe and became convinced of its potential in the marketplace. However, unmarried women in France were not allowed to open accounts or sign business documents at that time. "Okay, bet," Marie said (but in French), and married a family friend, Jean-Baptiste Roger, making him the face of her business, while she focused on developing liqueurs. Marie refined the recipe into what would become known as anisette, a product that would become so popular that even King Louis XV served it at Versailles. Marie continued to develop flavored liqueurs to the end of her life, and her legacy endures even today. Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits is now a wine and spirits producer and distributor operating mainly in Europe and the United States. 

Future Gin From The Greene Grape

Future Gin

Arguably the first woman- and queer-owned, and operated gin brand, Future Gin was created by Amy Atwood, Mary Bartlett, Freya Estreller and Natasha Case, four women who wanted a spirit that represents everything they love about California, from its natural bounty to forward thinking. Future Gin combines the structure of a classic dry gin with the vibrant flavors of Southern California. Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, and grape leaf are distilled alongside traditional botanicals to produce a gin that's as classic as a martini and as bright as the future.

Uncle Nearest From The Greene Grape

Uncle Nearest

This award-winning whiskey has made history in more ways than one. It is not only Black-owned and operated, it's also led by the industry's first all-female executive team, headed up by CEO and Founder Fawn Weaver and Victoria Eady Butler, the first known Black Woman Master distiller. The brand is dedicated to sharing the story and celebrating the accomplishments of first known African-American master distiller, Nathan "Nearest" Green, an enslaved man who taught Jack Daniels the craft of distilling. Green also perfected the unique filtering process used to create most Tennessee whiskey, today. 

Punset Wine Collection From The Greene Grape


The winery was founded in 1964 by Renzo Marcarino, however it was his daughter, Marina, who made the choice to convert vineyard operations to organic agriculture, eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides, nutrients, and flavorings. She was the first female winemaker in Piedmont to do so, back in 1981, and one of the very few female winemakers in the region overall. The neighbors thought she was bound to fail. But since then, Marina has worked tirelessly to perfect amethods to minimize the use of copper and sulfur-based treatments in the vineyard, and eventually shifted her farming to biodynamics and agronomic philosophy of Manasobu Fukuoka, also known as "the agriculture of doing nothing." Check out our interview with Marina Marcarino here!

Hendricks Gin From The Greene Grape

Hendrick's Gin

With global market sales in the ballpark of $15.3 billion, it's hard to argue with the popularity of gin as a spirit. However, the category lagged in popularity for years, even decades, as tastes shifted away from the austere London drys of the 1970s to fruitier spirits. Enter Hendricks and Master Distiller Lesley Gracie. A chemist by trade, Lesley is responsible for the characteristic freshness and florality of Hendrick's Gin. The product was a hit among critics and casual drinkers alike and  new audiences and new styles of gin soon flooded the marketplace, leading to what has been known as the gin boom between 2015 and 2021.

Shop B. Stuyvesant Champagne from The Greene Grape

B. Stuyvesant Champagne

Brooklyn-born and raised Marvina Robinson is not just heart and soul of critically acclaimed B. Stuyvesant Champagne, she's also one of the first Black American woman to own and operate a Champagne brand. Her love affair with Champagne began during her college days. She and her friends would often pool their limited funds to purchase a bottle from a local shop not far from her childhood home in Bedford Stuyvesant. They would toast each other and proudly sip out of their plastic cups. The cups may have changed, but Marvina’s love for the juice continued. After a career in finance, she launched B. Stuyvesant Champagne in 2018 , traveling to Epernay several times a year to work with winemakers, and ultimately opening a tasting room in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 

Photos Courtesy of Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits; Future Gin; Uncle Nearest; Punset; Hendrick's Gin; and B. Stuyvesant Champagne.