Wine culture

Isabel Mijares - is the first female oenologist in Spain

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  • Oenologist Maria Isabel Mijares -Blog about wine and strong alcoholic beverages Wine Blog

Isabel Mijares was the first female winemaker in Spain. Chemist, writer, promoter of wine culture, energetic and cheerful. At the age of 79, she continues her work and gradually passes on her legacy to her grandchildren. With me, Isabelle shared the priceless secrets of inspiration, determination, and courage that helped her become the person she always dreamed to be.

The professional path of isabel mijares

The daughter of a military man in a family of eight siblings, Isabel Mijares spent her childhood in her hometown of Merida, where she attended high school. In 1959, she moved to Madrid to study chemistry at the university. In 1967, Isabelle received a scholarship from the French government to study winemaking at the Institute of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, from which she graduated with honors.

During her studies, she collaborated with Emile Payneau, the father of modern oenology, in the management of wineries, the construction of new plants, the aging of wines, and especially in the field of modern production.

"For me, he was someone very close. I was lucky enough to study winemaking under his patronage. Emile opened the world of that magical wine that we all dreamed of when we started studying oenology" - recalls Isabel.

Later, thanks to a grant from the Juan March Foundation, Isabelle returned to Bordeaux to defend her doctorate in oenology under the supervision of Peyneau. In 1970, she received a national diploma from the Institute of Oenology of Bordeaux.

After returning to Spain, she was the first winemaker to run the Palacio de Arganza winery in Villafranca del Bierzo. Later, she opened a laboratory in Madrid with her brother as a commercial director.

Isabel Mijares was the General Secretary of the International Union of Winemakers, President of the Denomination of Origin of Valdepeñas, and also managed the projects at the United Nations, advising governments on viticulture practices. She has also traveled to various countries in Latin America and Europe.

Isabel has numerous articles in specialized journals and is the editor-in-chief of the analog of French Guide Michelin - the Repsol Wine Guide, as well as the Chair of the Department of Oenology in Mexico University.

Isabel mijares on her future plans

Isabel Mijares is a pioneer of winemaking in Spain. She was the first woman to receive the title of "oenologist" in the Iberian Peninsula. With a degree in Chemistry from the University of Madrid and a doctorate in Oenology from the University of Bordeaux, she has managed wineries, advised brands around the world, and created her own wine guide. This is very impressive and inspiring.

At 79, she still doesn't consider retiring: "I think it would be bad for me because I'm a terrible housewife who doesn't know how to do anything. I'm lucky that my parents, my husband, and my daughter, have put up with this for so long," - Isabelle laughs.

Today, Isabel Mijares is still active, traveling, participating in competitions, advising wineries, and, above all, representing her country at many forums and cultural and technical events related to the world of wine.