Making history, she was dubbed “Woman Winemaker of the Year” at the 2017 International Women’s Wine Competition. Melanie Natoli, Cana Vineyards winemaker, is the first Virginia winemaker to win the competition.
Judges awarded 29 Double Gold medals, 54 Best of Class awards, and six Best of Show awards out of over 1,150 entries.
Natoli’s best-showing wine was Cana Vineyards’ NV Sweet Vermouth, which earned a Double Gold medal, Best of Class designation, and Best of Show in the Dessert/Late Harvest category, according to a Cana Vineyards press release.
Cana Vineyards walked away with silver medals in the competition for the 2016 Albarino and 2016 Rkatsiteli, and bronze for its 2016 Petit Manseng and 2016 Riesling.
“I commend a competition that showcases the work of female producers in a male-dominated industry,” Natoli said in the release. “We also celebrate every time Virginia wine is recognized on a stage like this.”
Established in 2007, the International Women’s Wine Competition designed to highlight wines that appeal to female consumers as well as highlight wines produced by women. The 2017 competition was judged June 20 and 21 in Sonoma County, California, by a panel of leading women in the wine industry.
Natoli departed from her career as a healthcare professional in 2011 to embark upon her journey in wine, which would lead her to her current role at Cana Vineyards in 2015.