Spain’s women in wine to watch

Meritxell Falgueras

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The effervescent Meritxell Falgueras was born with wine in her blood. For five generations, her family have run popular wine shop El Celler de Gelida in Barcelona, which supplies wines to many of the region’s top restaurants.

Falgueras has forged a successful career of her own as a wine writer and sommelier, winning the coveted Catalan ‘Nariz de Oro’ (Golden Nose) prize in 2007 aged just 25.

She writes on wine for an array of magazines, has penned several books and makes regular TV and radio appearances. Appealing to younger consumers and women with her laidback approach to wine, Falgueras says her biggest challenge has been emerging from her father’s shadow. She has her sights set on becoming a Master Sommelier.

Who or what made you want to work in the wine industry? Wine chose me. As a child I spent my days at the shop with my family while they were selling wine, and I used tasting notes to express myself. I described sunsets like the tears of a full bodied red!

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far? My greatest challenge has also been a hugely positive influence on my career – the men in my life. Growing up in my father’s shadow, I was always introduced as the daughter of Toni.

Finding my own voice was a challenge and by moving away from him I was able to find an avid audience with Spain´s younger generation and help make wine popular for everyone, not just for an elitest group.

I married Lorenzo Zonin four years ago, a independent winemaker who´s Podere San Cristoforo with 3 bicchieri Gambero Rosso wines. However, I continue my own career writing books, articles and starring on TV and radio shows throughout Spain.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? Finishing the WSET diploma while still breastfeeding my daughter Vita.

Has it been tough getting to the top of a male dominated industry? The short answer is yes, but I have used my femininity to my advantage to advance my career. I appeared in fashion magazines, advertisements and TV using my personality and what makes me unique as a female sommelier to reach a bigger audience.

How has the Spanish wine landscape changed since you began writing about it? When I started working in the world of wine at 18 people were only concerned about Rioja and now Spanish consumers love to try wines from lesser-known DOs. The way wine is marketed today is much more easy going and fun, and consumers can purchase amazing wines for a good price.

Desert island wine: Podere San Cristoforo Carandelle Maremma Toscana 2015, made by my Italian husband, Lorenzo Zonin.

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