Women made great strides this spring! Venice welcomed its very first female gondolier, Alexandra Hai, a German in her late thirties. Although she is only allowed to ferry guests of a single hotel, the fact that Alexandra, a foreigner AND a woman, could jump in where laws since the eleventh century have held chauvanist sway, is a huge deal! So the next time you’re in Venice, definitely check out the Hotel Albergo San Samuele and say, "Brava!" to Alex.

The first annual National Women’s Wine Competition in March was the first of its kind to have an all-female judging panel in a national contest as well as a subcategory just for women winemakers. This benefitted not only women in wine but was a benefit for Women for WineSense, a nonprofit dedicated to being the "premier worldwide grassroots organization for women interested in wine."

Winning wineries now qualify to enjoy this certified seal of approval, a first in the wine world: Women Love It. So the next time you stop by your favorite wine shop, why not try one of the bottles below and support a Diva of the Vine?

DIVA PARTY IDEA: You can even host a fun wine-tasting evening for your friends featuring women-made wines! Get the boys tipsy on femme-friendly fruit for a change!

Here are the RESULTS! Find them all at NWWC.info.

*Judges’ Choice Awards
(Overall Winner of the Four Sweepstakes Categories)

1. General (Open) Competition:
Palmeri Wines 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, Napa Valley AVA
Stagecoach Vineyard, Daisy and Kerry Damskey, Winemakers (Geyserville, CA).

2. Women Winemaker’s Challenge (Winningest Diva!)
Veritas Winery 2005 Kenmar Traminette, Monticello AVA, Emily Pelton, Winemaker (Afton, Virginia)

*Sweepstakes Winners, Women Winemaker’s Challenge (Top female winemakers awards!!)

-Red Wines: Carol Shelton Wines, 2004 Wild Thing Zinfandel, Mendocino County, Carol Shelton, Winemaker (Windsor, CA).

-White Wines: Chateau Ste. Michelle (Snoqualmie Winery/Erath Vineyards), 2005 Snoqualmie Naked Riesling, Columbia Valley, Joy Andersen, Winemaker (Woodinville, WA)

-Sparkling: Domaine Carneros, NV Brut Rose Cuvee de la Pompadour, Carneros, Eileen Crane, Winemaker (Napa, CA) (*I love this winery and always visit when I’m in Napa. It’s breathtaking!)

-Dessert: Veritas Winery 2005 Kenmar Traminette*, Monticello AVA, Emily Pelton, Winemaker (Afton, VA)

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Brava to these Divas of the Vine! And Venice Diva #1! It’s a great time to be a woman. Let’s all drink to that with women-made wines!!