Madgdalena Pesce is the first female Chief Executive Officer of the not-for-profit organization that promotes, educates and furthers all of the wines from Argentina. In an effort to elevate and empower more women in wine, she most recently signed the United Nations Principles for the Empowerment of Women (WEP) on behalf of Wines of Argentina (WOFA)
Born in Argentina, Pesce has a degree in international relations and went abroad to begin her wine career in London, England. She started out as a marketing assistant at Oddbins working wine retail in 2004 and in 2009 she returned to Bueno’s Aires Argentina. It was here she began working at Wines of Argentina as the area manager for the United States, Brazil, Latin America and Canada. A perfect fit, Pesce moved up to become the marketing and communications manager, and then seven years later in 2021 Magdalena Pesce became the Chief Executive Officer for Wines of Argentina. Today she is dedicated to creating a space for gender equality, inclusivity and diversity in the world of wine.
With Pesce leading the way, Wines of Argentina is paving a new pathway for all women in wine. Through her position at WOFA Pesce is working to ensure that the entire operations and employment sector in Argentina is reflective of its commitment to gender equality, inclusion and diversity. Women have made an incredible contribution to the local Argentine wine community and Pesce plans on amplifying the great work already done by increasing the awareness and education of wines from Argentina to the world. Through global awareness, education and premiumization of the wine region Pesce wants to show the world the true power of female voices. From businesswomen and wine ambassadors such as Laura Catena and Susana Balbo, Lucila and Sofía Pescarmona and Paz Levinson, to Patricia Ortiz (head of the Bodegas de Argentina chamber) and Master of Wine Marina Gayan, to name just a few, women are major leaders on the Argentine wine scene, this abundance of powerful women leading the way is not common in other countries or industries, making Argentina women and their wines a global leader in their commitment to gender equality and inclusion.
“I am committed to helping and empowering other women, starting with my team and colleagues,” says Pesce.
The principles of WofA’s Women of Argentina Platform have extensive and valuable goals for its future. It also has a manifesto that is built on “putting women in the picture” and narrowing the gender gap and works on that ethos every single day from business decisions to work/life balance to political moves.
Pesce also works alongside many other talented females. The Women of Argentina group also includes Martín Pérez Cambet, one of the winners of the WofA Innova Open Challenge and who runs Dartley Family Wines with Claudia Piedrahita and two female winemakers. Committed to the cause, these women have brought distinctive value to the wine industry in Argentina and are using their positions to narrow the gender gap.
“Together, myself with a group of specialists in gender perspective from Iguala Consultora alongside Martin Pérez Cambet, started working on the project. We are still working on our manifesto but it covers three main concepts”
- Lead and inspire change through the implementation of actions with a gender perspective in the space in which we have impact, making us a better organisation that accompanies a new paradigm in the industry and supports companies to incorporate these values into their entire production chain.
- Commit to a responsible marketing and communication strategy as a manifestation of a new vision of the world and the industry, free of stereotypes and discrimination, crystallising a firm commitment to equity.
- Mentor our entrepreneurs by bringing women in our industry closer to information and equipping them with tools that make them leaders of the companies and institutions where they participate.
Under Pesce’s leadership, Wines of Argentina has also just subscribed to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) set up by UN Women. Wines of Argentina is the first “Wines of” organization to sign up for the United Nations Principles for the Empowerment of Women (WEP).
“I am convinced that genuine growth in the sector is only possible through equal opportunities for women and men. As Wines of Argentina we seek to be agents of change towards a committed, sustainable and inclusive culture in the world of wine. Adherence to WEPs is just the beginning.”
Argentina is one of the few continental viticultural areas in the world with the majority of vineyards planted at high altitudes with vineyards stretching across more than 2,000 kilometres. Altitude helps to give growing grapes a distinctive character by serving as a temperature regulator for optimal grape development. Vines grown in higher elevation tend to also have lower fruit yields. Mountain vines do produce complex and delicious grapes while using the pure snow meltwater from the Andes Mountains. Under stress, these grape vines adapt and produce more complex fruit. From solar radiation to a thinner atmosphere, high altitude vines help to produce wines with elegance and finesse.
Argentina has got range when it comes to varietals and styles. From exciting white wines like Torrontes and Pinot Grigio to the superstar grape Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and even Pinot Noir, winemakers are crafting world class wines from vineyards planted at high elevation.
Susana is one of the most renowned figures of the wine scene, and her role has helped to position Argentinian wine industry among the top of the world. A pioneering figure in the exportation of Argentinian wine, Susana has also served as a lifetime ambassador of Malbec, the most emblematic varietal of our country. His enormous success as a businesswoman has been recognized with many honors, such as the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award granted by the Asociación Argentina de Mujeres de Empresa, the “Endeavor Entrepreneur” and the “High Impact Endeavor Entrepreneur” awards of 2003 and 2006, and the 2019 “BRAVO Lifetime Achievement” granted by the Organización de las Américas. She was voted by her colleagues to be President of Wines of Argentina (WofA) three times, between 2006-2008, 2008-2010 and 2014-2016, and during these periods the exportation of Argentinian wine grew in an unprecedented, two-digit rate.
Meet Dr. Laura Catena. She is a fourth generation Argentine vintner, physician and author. Dr. Laura Catena is currently managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata and works closely with Alejandro Vigil and Luis Reginato to make the vineyard selections and blends for the family’s wines. She has been called “the face of Argentine wine” for her active role in studying and promoting the Mendoza wine region and Argentine Malbec. Laura’s life obsession is to learn more about high altitude viticulture, the vineyard soil microbiome and wine ageability. Laura is also founder of her own Luca Winery in Mendoza, Argentina, as well as a prahas a Medical Doctor degree from Stanford University practicing part-time physician of Emergency Medicine in San Francisco.
Meet Daniela Mezzatesta, she is a passionate and highly qualified agricultural engineer from Mendoza. Now she heads the research, development and vineyard sustainability team at Terrazas de los Andes.