Third nomination for Wine Woman of the Year 2024 has been announced

Third nomination for Wine Woman of the Year 2024 has been announced

During a wine/food lunch in the special wine room of the beautiful Restaurant Kita in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, the professional jury of Wine Woman of the Year 2024 announced Barbara Houtzager as the third contender for the title. Barbara is one of Ahold Delhaize's premier wine buyers. Together with her colleagues, she buys all the wines on the shelves at Gall & Gall and Albert Heijn. She is also the face to the outside world and appears in every Allerhande magazine with a piece about wine. Stichting Wijnvrouw van het Jaar puts wine women from the Netherlands in the spotlight with this election.
Text and image: Miss Publicity

All nominees are making a remarkable commitment to the wine world. According to the jury, which consists of former winners and experts from the wine industry, the nominees for this title make the Dutch wine world a little bit better. Moreover, these hard-working women are an example for other women working in the wine industry. The final title candidate will be announced soon, the finals will take place in September during Gastvrij Rotterdam.

Together with her fellow buyers, Barbara determines which wines many Dutch people have on their shelves. As a wine buyer for Gall &Gall and Albert Heijn, it is a challenge to alternate buying bulk wines with the higher-quality branded wines from different wine regions. In the jury report we read: "Barbara is a good candidate for the title because she has a lot of influence on what is drunk in the Netherlands. She is a strategically strong wine woman, moreover she navigates the broad portfolio together with her team (which consists entirely of women) in a clear way and is commercially very successful."

About Barbara Houtzager

Barbara was working for herself in environmentally focused product development, when the vacancy of wine buyer caught her attention. Indeed, wine had been a hobby for many years, partly because of her father who had a huge passion for it. Since 2005, she has worked as a wine buyer for Ahold Delhaize. There, she expanded her wine knowledge by taking courses and spending evenings wine tasting with colleagues. She soon made the purchasing profession her own and turned out to be a real wine fanatic. As she actually always knew herself to be. In her early years, she started buying wines from Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe. This was followed by the Loire, Languedoc, Bordeaux and Italy. Barbara is now the longest-serving buyer and works with great pleasure together with her four female colleagues. With this team, all wines are purchased for Gall & Gall and Albert Heijn. That amounts to no less than 50% wines sold in the Netherlands! Currently, Barbara focuses on purchasing wines from South Africa, Alsace, Burgundy and the Rhône region. She is also responsible for worldwide sourcing of wines for AH's house brand. These are transported to the company's own bottling plant in Brussels which offers opportunities to improve the quality of the private label wines. Besides purchasing, Barbara is involved in the Wine Buying Centre's sustainability programme. Ahold Delhaize has set firm targets (-45% green house gas emissions in 2030 compared to 2018 throughout the chain). The company wants everyone to be certified on social and environmental issues, glass weight must be reduced and all suppliers are asked to report their emissions. Not easy, but interesting and necessary.

Barbara: "My fondest memories of wine are perhaps the moments when I went with my father to pick out a nice bottle in the cellar. The fact that I now work in the wine world is still special to me. I get a lot of satisfaction from my job, we can really make an impact because we are so big. It's nice to master the bulk business, but especially in alternating with branded wines from quality areas for balance. You can now also find me in the Allerhande with tips and facts about wine."

Road to the final

The professional jury of Wine Woman of the Year 2024 consists of Kirsten Abels (winner Wine Woman of the Year 2023), Tatjana Puklavec (winner Wine Woman of the Year 2022), Claudia van Dongen (winner Wine Woman of the Year 2021), Magda van der Rijst (winner Wine Woman of the Year 2020) and Barbara Verbeek (vinologist and wine expert). The final will take place during Gastvrij Rotterdam in Ahoy on Monday 23 September 2024. Not only the jury of wine professionals will determine the final winner. After the announcement of the final nominee, the public can vote via

Wine Woman of the Year

The wine world is changing. We see more and more powerful, energetic and driven women who are committed in a special way. They make the wine world even more beautiful with their work, passion, knowledge or creations. According to initiators Barbara Verbeek (Wijntheater) and Clarissa Slingerland (MissPublicity), the women in the Dutch wine industry are unique. These women work hard, inspire, are creative, colourful and mostly a stimulus for other women. High time to put these wine women in the spotlight. In 2019, Clarissa and Barbara set up the Wine Woman of the Year Foundation; five women have since been named Wine Woman of the Year. Core values for the award include accessibility, connection, professionalism, knowledge and ambition. A number of permanent partners are involved in the Award including Walraven Sax, Gastvrij Rotterdam and Royal Leerdam.

Read also: First nomination for the title of Wine Woman of the Year 2024 has been announced
and: Second nomination for the title of Wine Woman of the Year 2024 goes to Anne-Wies van Oosten

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