A Virtual Wine Brand That Celebrates Women as They Are

Yvonne Irvine is the face behind Maenad Wine Company, a new wine brand that celebrates all women, everywhere. 

The Maenad’s were the female followers of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. They were wild, they practised ecstatic dance, performed feats of strength, and didn’t conform to society’s expectations of women – and she says her wines follow their muse. 

“These wines celebrate women as they are, outspoken, strong and however you want to be,” she says. “They were made to have fun with, to drink in the moment and to make an experience out of them.”

As a mother of two young children, she says she wanted her brand to reflect her values and set an example for them. 

The virtual winery has just launched its first three wines this summer. They’re unfiltered, unfined and not at all traditional. 

“It’s all about experimental wines and trying really funky, interesting things,” Irvine says. It is going to be a lot of fun and not necessarily the same every year.” 

The first wines in the Maenad portfolio are skin-fermented Chardonnay, a Vidal Pet-Nat and a Piquette which isn’t actually a wine but is made by adding water and a small amount of sugar to freshly pressed Sauvignon Blanc grape skins.  It is then allowed to ferment with wild yeasts and bottled just before ferment is finished to create a light spritz.  

Although her brand is new, she has plenty of experience in the wine industry working in various roles since 2007. She is the current assistant winemaker at Creekside Estate winery and Queenston Mile Vineyards in Niagara, as well as cidermaker at Rood Apples. 

She says she wanted to let her passion guide her decisions, crafting wines that look beyond what others are traditionally doing with grapes.

“I wanted to make wines that everybody at various levels will enjoy and not take it too seriously,” says Irvine. “I like that I haven’t given myself any rules, I am letting each year be what I want it to be and creating products that just feel right at the time.” 

You can find more about her wines at maenadwines.com

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Written by Britt Dixon
Britt Dixon is a digital creator & social media marketer and loves telling stories about Ontario wine. She teaches others about local wine through her regular #SippingOntario video series, and interviews with winemakers and producers on her social media channels.  Britt also works with wineries producing video content to help them share their stories and grow their brands on social media. She’s a TV expert, freelance writer and contributor, and also loves hosting events and tastings. Britt’s passion for the Ontario wine industry started young. Growing up in Niagara she would pick grapes and make wine with her Papa. She has a Certificate in Ontario Wine through Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.