There are proper names that are inextricably linked to the history of wine, but even in the 21st century it is not usual for that name to be that of a woman. However, that of Isabel Mijares should be written with honors because, far beyond being the first woman to obtain the title of winemaker in Spain , her work, her research and her reflections have left, and continue to leave, a profound mark.
A woman who broke ground Who is Isabel Mijares
Isabel Mijares’ career says a lot about her drive and her deep love for the world of wine. He was born in 1942 in Mérida and grew up there. But it was the summers at his paternal grandparents’ house in a town in León that would mark the beginning of his vocation. There his family had a small winery , and there he came into contact with oenology for the first time and his fascination with it began.
At the age of 17, Isabel moved to Madrid to study Chemical Sciences at the Complutense University. From there, he would focus his professional and vital career on combining his two great passions: wine and chemistry.
An enthusiasm and hard work, especially if one takes into account that at that time it was an almost exclusively male universe, which paid off in 1967. That year he got a scholarship to study at the Institute of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux . There he graduated, received his doctorate and worked with Émile Peynaud, considered the father of modern oenology.
Back in Spain already in the 70s, and with the firm decision to work in the field and not in the laboratory, she achieved her first great milestone: being the first winemaker in charge of a winery .
A trajectory full of achievements Who is Isabel Mijares
After leaving the Villafranca del Bierzo winery, Isabel Mijares set up an oenological analysis and control laboratory to offer her services to wineries that lacked it. But his work in the following years was as intense as it was fruitful: talks, tasting contests, specialization courses, advice and entrepreneurship initiatives shape a curriculum that is as extensive as it is outstanding.
Isabel Mijares has been secretary general of the International Union of Oenologists , has advised the United Nations on viticultural practices, was the first woman president of a Wine Regulatory Council (Valdepeñas) and prepared the Repsol Wine Guide for the Academy of Gastronomy.
And, if we talk about recognitions, the list is no less long: academic number of the Royal Spanish Academy of Gastronomy , Commendation of Merit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Chevalier of Agricultural Merit of France, Gold Medal for Wine Merit awarded by the Federation Spanish Winemakers and Gold Medal from the Association of Chemists of Spain (ANQUE), among many others.
A life dedicated to oenology
Her training and achievements are almost overwhelming, but if there is something that stands out about Isabel Mijares and that says a lot about her passion for the world of wine, it is her desire to disseminate . He has dedicated a good part of his professional life to giving talks, conferences and seminars; to explain their knowledge about the field and to offer advice in different countries.
His knowledge has also been reflected in countless articles in specialized technical magazines. It is, for all this, one of the greatest eminences in the world of oenology , and not only in Spain, since the relevance of Isabel Mijares has been widely recognized also internationally.
A decided bet on wine
Isabel Mijares has spent her whole life proclaiming to the four winds that wine is a culture and working tirelessly to promote it. He advocates not staying only in big brands, ensuring that many less well-known wineries also produce excellent wines. And, curiously, and despite his professional career, he also ensures that the best wine is the one that he likes, without further ado.
His knowledge, his reflections and his wisdom are now an indispensable part of the history of oenology.