Wikispanishfood Editorial Team
On August 31st, the list of new Masters of Wine (MW) was released. The title is reserved for experts in the wine world, and is granted by the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine in the UK. Of the 10 new Masters of Wine, 6 were women. Almudena Alberca MW, Technical Director of Bodegas Viña Mayor, is the first female Master of Wine from Spain. With more than 15 years of winemaking experience, Almudena Alberca MW combined her studies for the title with her job at several wineries. She is part of the current generation of Spanish oenologists with international aspirations. She is responsible for repositioning Bodegas Viña Mayor, starting with upgrading its traditional line and creating, designing and launching new products.
Question- Master of Wine, the highest distinction granted by the Masters of Wine Institute in the UK, represents supreme knowledge and excellence in the wine world. How does it feel to have made it to the top?
Answer- It required several years of hard work, balancing my studies with my career. Now I am extremely happy, satisfied, and relaxed.
Q.- Is there anywhere to go from here?
A.- I'm a curious person and I believe you must continue to educate yourself.
Q.- What has your journey been like, since you entered the wine world until you decided to prepare to become a Master of Wine?
A.- It was a beautiful stage in my life, and a very busy one: discovering, learning and working with something that I enjoy.
After my third harvest and my return from New Zealand in 2005, I became completely immersed in this world. It's a very dynamic industry that fascinated me, and continues to do so.
Q.- You have more than 15 years of experience making wine. How did you balance your studies with your job?
A.- Balancing the two is very challenging, especially being an oenologist, since I have to dedicate at least 3 months of the year entirely to the harvest. A large part of my free time, weekends and vacations were spent studying, so I had little time to relax.
It took a lot of work, but it was worth it and I am very proud of my accomplishment.
Q.- There are 380 Masters of Wine in the world, and only 4 in Spain. As of August 31st, you are the only woman. Would you say that women have a growing role in the world of wine?
A.- As in all sectors, little by little women are achieving new objectives and goals. The world of wine is a reflection of what's happening in society.
Q.- How would you describe Spain's wine sector?
A.- The wine industry is in a good place in Spain. A lot of things are happening, but we must continue to move forward and to improve if we want to be more competitive.
Q.- What are the main challenges?
A.- I believe it's vital to improve our current position in the market. To that end, it's important to raise awareness about Spain's enormous diversity, with different climates and autochthonous grape varieties, for example.
Q.- Lastly, what would you tell women who are interested in gaining a foothold in this industry?
A.- I can sum up my advice in three words: passion, training and commitment