Isabel Mijares, Spain’s first winemaker, dies

The world of wine is mourning the death of the Emeritus winemaker Isabel Mijares, at 81 years old, as a result of a heart attack in Madrid. Enthusiastic, hard-working, thoughtful and very observant, she was the first winemaker of Spain and the first woman to preside over a Wine Regulatory Council, that of the Valdepeñas Denomination of Origin in 1982.

He built a brilliant resume throughout his life. In 2023 he collaborated in this newspaper’s gastronomic magazine (Rextaurantes), where he demonstrated his exceptional character and his enormous knowledge about wines. Extremaduran society sadly welcomes the news of his death. “She was an exceptional woman and the one who knew the most about wines of our country. “He enjoyed great esteem among his colleagues and among the people he dealt with.”, just as they remember it in the region. Her mortal remains are being laid to rest in the Madrid funeral home on the M30 (room number 23).

Isabel Mijares was also the first to obtain a doctorate in oenology in Bordeaux, where she was a disciple and collaborator of Émile Peynaud and companion of Michel Roland.; the first woman to run a winery in Spain, Palacio de Arganza (Villafranca del Bierzo); the first wine specialist to enter the Academy of Gastronomy, before it achieved recognition as a Royal Academy; one of the first firms specialized in wine information that published her work in the specialized press.

In addition, Mijares was responsible for an oenological consulting company and a communication agency and for the Repsol Wine Guide. With a career of more than forty years in these multiple disciplines, he accumulated dozens of awards and distinctions, created, promoted and directed wine tasting competitions.

He was born in Mérida in 1942, he studied Chemistry at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and oenology at the University of Bordeaux. She advised wineries from a technical point of view, with her legendary LACE (Oenological Analysis and Control Laboratory) in the Madrid neighborhood of Tetuán, and from an image point of view, she was co-founder of the communication agency Equipo Team, according to Proensa magazine.

“He stood out for the creation of a peculiar language for describing wines, in which he applied techniques that can be identified with the spicy songs of cuplé, in which he introduced images that have settled in the imaginary of the sector, such as smells of ‘ novice’s petticoat ‘village priest’s cassock’, among many others,” the publication recalls.

Creator and president of the Association of Wine Journalists and WritersMaría Isabel Mijares y García Pelayo died at their home in Madrid.

wave of condolences

Isabel Mijares with the president of the Board, María Guardiola, in the latest edition of Fitur. ASSIGNED

The death of Isabel Mijares has raised a wave of condolences. The first has come from the president of the Regional Government of Extremadura, Maria Guardiola, who in statements to this newspaper recalled that during the Fitur celebration, this past January, he was able to share with the winemaker an unforgettable conversation in what was the last public event related to our autonomous community in which the winemaker. On her social networks, the Extremaduran president has released an emotional message: “I deeply regret the loss of Isabel Mijares, one of the pioneers and a true reference in the oenology sector; She leaves an indelible mark. “My condolences to all his loved ones.”

Furthermore, Mijares belonged to the Gastronomic Academy Extremadura and precisely participated in a public event during the presentation of the gastronomic awards of this relevant regional institution that were held at the National Tourism Parador ‘Vía de la Plata’ in Mérida on November 23. Among others, they were awarded Atanasio NaranjoPresident of Tany Nature, from Zurbarán (Badajoz), the Cáceres chef from Oquendo Pablo Medrano Ruíz or the Tuétano Restaurant in Mérida. The Academy has mourned such a sensitive loss.

The mayor of Mérida: “He positioned the city with pride”

The mayor of Mérida, Antonio Rodriguez Osunaon behalf of the entire municipal corporation and the city, has also expressed its regret for “the death of Isabel Mijares, Favorite Daughter of Mérida. And sends its condolences to family and friends. From the city council we join the pain of each and everyone who knew a woman who led our city with pride, promoting it and positioning it in any corner of the world, being a professional reference. Mérida today remembers one of our greatest ambassadors. Rest in peace.

In Valdepeñas

On the other hand, through a statement, the Valdepeñas City Council has highlighted the career of Mijares, “a woman ahead of her time”, who received the affection of the town, granting her the title of Adopted Daughter of the City of Valdepeñas in 1998.

Atrio: “We will always remember her”

The list of condolences has not been missing either. Jose Polo and Toño Pérezresponsible for the Cáceres restaurant Atrium (the only one in Extremadura with three Michelin stars). “She has been one of the most international Extremadurans we have ever had. A friend of her friends, and always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it. She always helped us both on a gastronomic and winemaking level, and when we needed a friend to help us. entered the Bordeaux University of Oenology. She truly has been a woman who has always fought for her land and we have always felt very loved by her. We will always remember her.”

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