Cellar Talk with Patricia Benitez
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Honoring Women in Wine:
Benitez on passion, patience, and nature
Interviewed by Nick Baines
1. How did you get your start in wine?
I studied a PhD in chemistry with oenology as my specialized subject. I actually discovered my passion for wine after a serendipitous visit to a winery in Priorat where I was inspired by a young, passionate winemaker called Sara Perez, which is when I decided to focus my career in winemaking.
2. Where are you in your career now?
I’m in a really nice place, because after 14 years learning and working in other wineries like Pingus and Vega Sicilia, I now have the opportunity to develop my own projects and create the wines that I’m passionate about.
Right now I’m focusing on a relatively unknown part of Ribera del Duero where old vines thrive. It is an area where altitude, climate, soil, and vines are the protagonists.
We work with local people who respect the biodiversity and ancient methods of cultivation. I love being in contact with nature. Every vintage is a creative opportunity and a challenge to learn something new and meet new people. In this job, you are always learning.
3. How do Naked Angels empower you as a winemaker?
Our project is focused on recovering old vines in an abandoned village and will help to reanimate rural life creating jobs and activities in a forgotten part of Spain. Angel support allows us to maintain the project as a very small winery, but with high-quality wine. Their trust in me and my project is amazing.
4. What’s a BIG lesson you’ve learned along the way?
That in wine as in life you have to be patient!
5. What’s the message you have for other women winemakers?
Trust yourself and your intuition and always follow your dream. Listen to nature and your vineyards, take care of them carefully and they will give you the same.
6. What is your big hope for women in wine in the future?
That this question does not exist.
Nick Baines is a food and travel writer based in London.