“Grand Prix” Woman Wine Maker of the Year
2014 - 2024
“Grand Prix” Woman Wine Maker of the Year

The Women Winemaker of the Year is given to 10 women winemakers who have produced wines with particularly high scores among all categories.
And the best of the top 10 who has produced the highest scoring wine will be awarded the "Grand Prix" Woman Winemaker of the Year.
imgMs. Colleen FitzGerald
Title : Winemaker
Country : U.S.A.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude for the esteemed recognition as Grand Prix Woman Winemaker of the Year, bestowed upon me by the Sakura organization and it’s distinguished judges. This honor revives my passion to share our Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier blend globally. This unicorn blend has balanced natural acidity and residual sugar making it very food friendly. One of my favorite food parings is with Japanese style curry rice, the hint of spice balances our wine’s flavors exceptionally. The Chenin Blanc is sourced from Clarksburg, an American grape growing region on the Sacramento delta, known as the "Gem of the Delta.” Its maritime influence helps keep the natural acidity along with flavors of orange blossom, yuzu and melon of the Chenin Blanc grapes. The Viognier is primarily grown in Lodi and its Mediterranean climate reflects the excellence of the terroir. This award reaffirms our commitment to crafting exceptional wines and inspires us to continue our journey with renewed energy. Thank you for recognizing the dedication and craftsmanship to create a beautiful Chenin Blanc and Viognier blend!
imgMs. Viviana Navarrete
Title : Chief Winemaker
Winery : Leyda Winery
Country : Chile
Thank you for this important award as Grand Prix Woman Winemaker of the Year, thanks to the Sakura organization, thanks to the Sakura Awards judges, this award fills us with passion and energy to continue work strongly, making Leyda Wines. Let me tell you something about Leyda Winery, we are pioneers of a new Appellation of Origin in Chile, called Leyda Valley. This fantastic place is located on the west side of the Coastal Mountain Range only twelve kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. So, we have a strong maritime influence, with low temperatures during the whole year, morning fog, and strong brises that come from the sea. So, is the Paradise for crafting Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Our wine-making philosophy is to try to make wines that speak of this cool coastal climate and show the minerality and the bride acidity that is typical of this terroir. I want to invite everybody to drink Leyda Wines, to know a little bit about our history, about our work. Definitely think Leyda Wines pair perfectly with Japanese cuisine. Thanks once again, take care. Cheers from Chile!
imgMs. Laure Guilloteau
Title : Enologist
Winery : Maison Jean-Claude Boisset
Country : France
Dear Jury,
I am extremely honored to be awarded as Best Woman Winemaker of the year 2022. I am particularly touched because this is a competition where I had the chance to be part of the jury 3 years ago. There I was able to discover a great selection of wines in Japanese market, also I had the opportunity to meet passionate and inspiring women.
I joined the Jean-Claude Boisset winemaking team in 2010 and I want to share this award with the Boisset family and my dear colleagues: Amélie, Grégory, William and Sergio. Team work is essential for us!
I am very grateful that our Bourgogne Pinot Noir les Ursulines 2020 has been rewarded during this competition. This wine is the quintessential expression of the winery, and is both an initiation into Burgundy and a great wine in its own right.
Laure Guilloteau, Maison Jean-Claude Boisset
imgMs. Saskia Goetschy
Title : Enologist
Winery : Chateau Boucarut
Wine : CUVEE CARMEN 2018
Country : France
Dear Jury and wine lovers,
I am greatly honored to have been awarded as Best Women Winemaker 2021 and I must confess that this is quite unexpected.
Indeed, in 2017 (not so long ago) we decided with Maurice, my husband, to change our life and took over Boucarut and it’s nearly 20 hectares of vineyards which are now certified organic.
We believe that the experience of the years is essential for the growing and elaboration of good wine. Since we don't have it yet, we put all our heart, our passion for the magic of wine and our work in order to craft wines that we believe authentically express our terroir and the different vintages. The terroir of Boucarut, which is in one piece, is made of some pebble stones and mainly of sands which together give our wines strength and elegance.
I want to thank our team, our oenologists, neighbor winemakers, friends and family who believe in our work, in our wines and in a world in which diversity is central and who encourages us in this path.
We are “neo-vignerons” and your recognition gives us courage and confirms that our choices are the good ones!
Looking forward to our presence in Japan! Arigato gozaimasu!
Saskia Goetschy
imgMs. Geneviève Janssens
Title : Enologist
Winery : Robert Mondavi Winery
Country : U.S.A.
It is with great pride and a sense of honor that I say thank you for awarding me the Best Women Winemaker 2020 and for awarding the Diamond Trophy to our Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Maestro 2015 vintage. Japan has always held a privileged place in the heart of Margrit and Robert Mondavi. The heartfelt honor of these awards, bestowed upon our 2015 vintage and myself, is addressed to them directly.
Mr. Mondavi was my mentor, my inspiration, and through his teachings I continued in our tradition and to work to serve his legacy justice. It is therefore of tremendous honor to have our limited release; Maestro 2015 receive such recognition. I truly believe that our unique Maestro 2015 is a ‘blending masterpiece,’ exhibiting Napa Valley in its fullest potential, comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, though with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot accompanying to create a 'symphony for the pallet.' Mr. Mondavi gave me all the means necessary to have our Napa Valley terroir become recognized as capable of crafting wines that rank amongst the greatest of the world, and I am forever grateful for this.
Margrit Mondavi was a very dear friend. Since I have always called her The Great Lady of Napa Valley, I believe the honor bestowed upon me of Best Woman Winemaker, is in fact also an extension of her spirit and celebration of her. Her tenacity enlivened the Napa Valley and the world, just as the tannins of our blends can enchant the pallets of so many. The Best Women Winemaker 2020 award is one that I am sure Margrit is smiling upon now.
The spirit of Mr. Mondavi and Margrit must be together, in heaven, celebrating this great moment. I'm sure they are drinking a delicious wine to the jury and to everyone's health. On behalf of them, and all of Robert Mondavi's team who made this tremendous award possible, I would like to say thank you. Together, through celebrations just like these, we continue the dream of Margret and Mr. Mondavi.
Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita, merci, thank you very much,
imgMs. Floriane Enzack
Title : Enologist
Winery : Champagne Jacquart
Country : France
First, I want to thank each of the women in the jury for having so much enjoyed my wines and my work.
I also take this opportunity to thank our distributor, Kokubu, for their constant support in Japan.
This award is used to promote the profession of winemaker and offers an excellent opportunity to think about the role and place women have to play and take in this men dominated wine world.
The primary role of a winemaker is to create the best possible wine taking into account the Terroir it comes from.
In Champagne, the Cellar Master is responsible for the consistency of the style of the House reflected by the wine "non-vintage", aka the Brut Mosaïque at Champagne Jacquart.
But he/she must also anticipate the evolution of the wine, give overall directions and pass on his knowledge in order to offer consumers true and spontaneous pleasure.
It is a position that I have embodied with humility for 8 years, where there are many challenges to handle and to show strong determination is the key to succeed. A demanding job that I share with 3 colleagues.
Each one has its own sensitivity, its voice and its expert testimony within the committee of tasting. We have our respective personalities, certainly complementary and none prevails.
The concept of a team is beyond the difference man/woman, it suggests a diversity, a complementarity and testifies to a unit.
When you share the same passion and vision with your team, being male or female should not make any difference.
However, I was not predestined to become a Cellar Master. No-one in my family is involved in the wine industry but my father is a wine lover – he taught me and my sisters how to taste by playing games. He initiated me to the fascinating world of wine tasting. I turned spontaneously towards winemaking when I decided to work as a cellar hand for a winery in my natal region, before studying oenology.
I think I’ve always been interested in roles traditionally dominated by men - my childhood dream was to become a fighter pilot for the French Air Force!
Throughout my career, I met passionate vine growers and winemakers who encouraged me to develop my curiosity. I also had the chance to meet people who trusted me and let me express my creative mind.
When I joined Champagne Jacquart in January 2011, I have undertaken to progressively refocus our style around the mosaic collection and the Blanc de Blancs Vintage, emblematic of the House. I also created a prestige cuvee, Alpha, and a single vineyard cuvee which will be launched soon.
The brand, created in 1964 is contemporary and it is naturally that I wanted to highlight a modern style: an overhead structure that allows to express the freshness of the Chardonnay and the delicacy of texture.
Each of our wines has a story to tell, the story of our relationship with all lovers of champagne. Each one offers a mosaic of emotions and sensations, depending on the context in which it has been chosen and tasted.
This audacious and international brand has made the name Champagne Jacquart resound all around the world, and takes infinite pleasure in transmitting its passion.
Focusing on creativity more than on volumes, I worked the structure of the cuvee Alpha, icon of the brand, in a search of finesse, depth and perfect harmony between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This cuvee is a search, a reflection, a selection reinterpreted every vintages that expresses a singular elegance, a style full of precision, power and depth.
Beyond the name 'Alpha', which symbolizes "first" and "infinite”, the idea of an experimentation and a permanent opening, the will of a constantly renewed adventure!
Thank you.
Floriane Eznack
imgMs. Andrea Ferreyra
Title : Enologist
Winery : Finca la Celia
Country : Argentina
I began my professional career as a winemaker in Argentina as I went to visit my grandmother who lived at the Uco Valle when I was little. I was drawn by the passion the people in the countryside, the incredible views and the idea of working with a product that I love which came from our own land.
My studies started at the University of Juan Agustín Maza, Mendoza, Argentina with a general program to become an agricultural engineer. Later I was accepted to my postgraduate degree in Quality Management from Vineyard to Wine which gave me the possibility to start working in different winery teams of Mendoza, as Bodegas and Viñedos La Rural and Bodega and Cavas de Weinert. The both marked my technical formation.
Now with 20 years of experience in the wine industry I can say that I am truly great full and exited for being recognized with this prize for my wines from Finca La Celia, producer of La Celia and Tamari. It has been an amazing journey of hard work which is finally being showed to the world.
These years I’ve tried to pass on my dedication and passion for wine to Tamari and La Celia’s portfolio crafting each range as wines with strong aromas and flavors, and with great personality that reflect a unique style of the terroir of the Uco Valley. We were pioneers in this place which is recognized as the finest location for the production of Premium wines in Argentina.
imgMs. Eva Prim
Title : Enologist
Winery : Celler Ronadelles
Country : Spain
I was only eighteen when I discovered and fell in love with this magical county with its special “terroir”. The minute I stepped into this county I knew that I wanted to live and work here.
I have studied two university careers (mathematics and chemistry) and I consider myself to be a intuitive and creative woman.
Whilst studying chemistry I worked in several wineries in the Priorat region but It was not until 2008 that I was given the opportunity to form part of the cellar Ronadelles’ team. It was with Ronadelles that I began my professional career as a winemaker and here in Cornudella is where I’ve discovered my passion for working the land and producing wine.
We work to elaborate wines with personality, wines that respect the environment and make the most of the knowledge that the older generations have passed down to us. We elaborate the wines using scientific knowhow but we also respect and follow the phases of the moon.
Wine should not only convey aromas and flavours but should also convey feelings, emotions, and tell a story. Some stories are historical facts and some are legends, hence our decision to create a wine called Vins I Llegendes. A wine that conveys the character of a land through its aromas and flavours but also using the hand drawn label tells the story. A combination of history art and science which has been awarded the sakura Award 2017.
In a short space of time Ronadelles has placed itself in the avant-garde of wines in Catalonia, this small winery located in Cornudella de Montsant is currently one of the most important cellars thanks to its range of wines Cap de Ruc.
imgMs. Karen Turner
Title : Enologist
Winery : Prieuré Saint Jean de Bébian
Country : France
I started my professional life as a medical scientist in Australia, though was drawn to winemaking by a passion for taste. I enrolled at Adelaide University, graduated in oenology in 1997, then began to work for wonderful wineries all around the world - Hugel in Alsace, Thelema in Stellenbosch, Taylor Fonseca in the Douro, Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley.....In 2004 I was employed for vintage at Prieuré St Jean de Bébian, and 12 years later on am still here as technical director. It is a wonderful historical property with an exceptionnel array of terroir, and has given me the opportunity to express all I've learnt in my wines.
It is an honour to be awarded this prize which brings so much personnal merit to 20 years of hard work and passion.
imgMs. Gioia Cresti
Title : Enologist
Winery : Fattoria Carpineta Fontalpino
Country : Italy
Wine is an expression of the land, the more you love and care for it ; the more it rewards you with great results and satisfaction.
I think that the wine is one of the greatest manifestations of emotions. It is the explosion of senses. Its color is inebriating; its perfume is persuasive; its taste is fascinating and it whispers convincingly to women..... the beauty to be alive!
Gioia Cresti
imgMs. Claire Naudin
Title : Enologist
Winery : Domaine Henri Naudin - Ferrand
Country : France
I had the great honor of receiving the Best Woman Winemaker award at the 1st edition of the SAKURA Awards competition in 2014. It was a very nice reward not only for myself, but for all my team too. The trophies had arrived during the 2014 harvest and I was able to proudly show them to my team and I could feel that everyone was happy to have contributed to this success. It was very motivating for everyone involved, including my customers who have sent me their congratulations..
I am also very proud to have been awarded by a panel of professional women.
Lastly, I am particularly impressed by the quality of the Sakura Awards Competition, including the time that is dedicated to the tasting – the latter lasting many days! I dream of such a competition in France, where everything is done too fast…
To the woman who will succeed me, I say: Congratulations, this splendid trophy is a reward to your talent and will inspire you to go further forward!
Claire Naudin

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