David Vigario Merida


Updated Sunday, February 11, 2024-14:53

The wine universe mourns the death of its great lady.

María Isabel Mijares García-Pelayo (81 years old),

the first female winemaker in Spain and an absolute reference in this sector, died last night in Madrid, as reported by the Royal Academy of Gastronomy, to which she belonged as a full Academician. Chemistry and graduate in Sensory Analysis, Maribel was a pioneer in a world that was then predominantly male, but her brilliance, knowledge and enormous communication and friendliness capacity catapulted her to become a benchmark in the industry in our country for decades. In this case, Isabel received unanimous recognition from the entire gastronomy sector during her lifetime, which, precisely, elevated her to the heights, presiding over juries, fairs, forums or specialized salons, and advising the great oenological projects created in Spain and outside our borders, in addition to

publishing books, giving conferences around the world

and collecting countless awards for his work. Her mere presence at any event dwarfed any other expert. She was truly the great star of oenology. She had earned it hard for years in a context, especially in her early days, where the figure of a woman was very difficult to access.

Of Extremaduran origin in a large family of eight siblings, she had a "very happy" childhood, just like when she was young and in general, always, "because I have been a happy woman," she has repeated in her interviews. Her relationship with wine began as a child because her paternal family, of Leonese origin, had a

home winery "where they made wine that was not sold

, it was for private consumption." Recognized in 2017 as Favorite Daughter of her hometown, Mérida, upon finishing her degree in Chemistry studied in Madrid, he obtained a scholarship from the French Government in 1967 to study Oenology at the Institute of Oenology of the University of Bordeaux, where he graduated in Oenology and the Higher Diploma in Wine Tasting. In the French city he met a key figure in his life,

Émile Peynaud

(father of modern oenology), his mentor and teacher - with a completely different character from his, much less open - who definitely opened the window for him to know secrets to love wine throughout his life. In 1970, with a scholarship from the Juan March Foundation, she completed her doctorate in oenology at the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology and obtained the Diplôme dÉtudes Approfondies.

With enormous knowledge acquired after years of research, she became the first winemaker in Spain and the

first woman to chair a Regulatory Council,

that of the Valdepeñas Wine Denomination of Origin. After creating her own consulting company, she was in charge of the TEAM team, which annually produces the Repsol Wine Guide and was Coordinator and director of the Campsa Guide to the Best Wines in Spain (later the Repsol Guide), from 1998 to 2019. Before, since 2017, she was technical director of the Wine Activities of the Real Casino of Madrid, where she organized wine gatherings and technical conferences.

His incomparable resume is inexhaustible. Isabel

would become part of the Royal Academy of Gastronomy

with a speech titled "My dialogue with a jar of wine, in El Trascacho de Valdepeñas, on the night of San Andrés", always with the objective of bringing the general public closer to a world almost always considered elitist and she helped these prejudices be left behind, in addition to contributing to the dissemination and love for wine culture throughout the world through her friendly, smiling character, always wasting energy and affection to anyone who approached her. . The world of oenology loses its great popularizer. May the great lady of wine rest in peace.