A winemaker at Bodegas Montecillo in Fuenmayor, Rioja, Spain since 1976, Maria Martinez-Sierra has made extraordinary contributions to the world of find Spanish wine. With an unmatched wit and effusive intellect, Martinez remains one of very few female winemakers in Spain.
Martinez received her winemaking education in Spain as well as in Bordeaux at wineries owned by the Cordier family in the 1970’s. With great determination, she has overcome the obstacles not unusually to career women in a male-oriented society of the 70s and 80s, prevailing over even her own mother’s resolve against her professional pursuits. Lovingly supported by her father and her boyfriend, Pedro, now her husband of over two decades, Martinez began her successful navigation of what remains a difficult industry for females to enter. Now one of the most recognizable Spanish women in wine, her undeniable gift for winemaking as well as her indomitable spirit certainly propelled her to the top. Notes Martinez, “I’m a fighter, and I bought a lot at the beginning to gain the respect and admiration of others in this profession. Gender is not what matters.”
Dedicating her work to indigenous Spanish varietals, Martinez’s reward for such tenacity has been a succession of well-respected wines of world renown under the Bodegas Montecillo label. Proud to be considered a “fair player” by her competitors, Martinez was nominated by her colleagues in Rioja and received the Mercury Award in 1995 for her contributions to the international reputation of fine Rioja wines.