The Proust Q&A: Susana Balbo10th January, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
Known by many as the “Evita of wine”, Susana Balbo is the most famous female winemaker in Argentina. After 20 years of producing wine for other people as a consultant, in 1999 Balbo founded Dominio del Plata in Luján de Cuyo. Selling the wines under her own name, Balbo also has a line of fruit forward second wines, Crios de Susana, which are designed to be drunk young. She lives in Mendoza with her family.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To see my country, Argentina, free of corruption and social inequality.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing my sense of judgement, my sense of smell or taste, or that my children suffer unjustly.
Which living person do you most admire?
The current Pope, Francis I.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I’m not a very extravagant person by nature, but if I could do something extravagant it would be travelling around India on an elephant.
What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful and fulfilled.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Honesty, kindness, compassion and solidarity.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
When excuses are made up, there is no room for mistakes.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Winemaking and my children.
When and where were you happiest?
In 1984 and 1986 in Salta, when my two children were born.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to play the guitar.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be more patient and learn to wait or others.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My kids and my team at Dominio del Plata.
Where would you most like to live?
In front of the sea, with a vineyard to care for and a small winery to have fun in.
What is your most treasured possession?
None, because we are born naked and die naked.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Resilience, courage, compassion, optimism and perseverance.
Who are your favourite writers?
Luciano Terzani, Ayn Rand, Irvin Yalom, Marcos Aguinis and many more.
Who is your hero of fiction?
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
I don’t have any regrets, because I think that if I was born again and was in the same situations with the same options, I would have taken the same path.
Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what three wines would you serve them?
I’d invite three of the people I admire most: Pope Francis I, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. I know the pope enjoys Malbec from Mendoza, so I’d serve them a rosé to start, a Malbec with the first course and a blend of Malbec, Tannat and Petit Verdot with the main. There are many excellent Malbecs in Argentina and, as I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, I’d draw lots to let chance which one to serve.