Ricardo Migueláñez. Agricultural Engineer. @rmiguelanez
Our series featuring leading figures in the food and beverage industry continues with Félix Solis Yáñez, CEO of Félix Solis Yañez Avantis, a leading winemaker not only in Spain, but also at international level.
Solis was born in Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real) in 1945, and those who know him say he is a family man. He's married and has one son, Félix Solis Ramos, who has inherited not only his father's business acumen, but also a reputation for being a skilled negotiator with clients and suppliers.
A self-made man who started with nothing and built an empire. He's a hard worker and demanding of those around him, and when he was 18 he began working at the family winery founded by his father, Félix Solis Fernández. Soon after he moved to Madrid, where he took responsibility for the local office and bottling facility. In the capital, he peddled his wines from bar to bar during tough times for the country, creating a space for wine from Valdepeñas in Madrid.
He was a pioneer in exporting wine from Valdepeñas, and at the age of 20, he started to sell wine in the city squares in Ceuta and Melilla, and also in Germany. He has been involved in every area of the company, although he primarily works in sales and procurements. He is currently CEO and Managing Director of Félix Solís Avantis, S.A., which has wineries in the Valdepeñas and La Mancha DOs under the Félix Solís brand, and in Rueda, Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Toro under the Pagos del Rey brand. The company has wholly-owned subsidiaries in Mexico, Japan, the US, France, the Czech Republic, Germany and the UK, and its own winery in China.
I believe that one of his foremost achievements has been strengthening a family business and transforming it into a professionalized company with an international presence, and a future. Today the business is owned by four brothers: Pedro, Manuel, Juan Antonio and Félix, CEO and Managing Director of the group.
He was formerly president of the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV) and the Spanish Wine Market Observatory (OEMV).
According to his close friends, he is very discreet, but he also takes a great interest in all of his collaborators, frequently asking them about themselves.
He's a strong defender of organizations and associations and, according to former colleagues, he has big ideas which he defends with tenacity until bringing them to fruition.
He is a man of firm beliefs, and he says what he thinks openly and honestly. That makes him a great negotiator who expresses and defends his objectives but who, at the same time, is able to reach consensus with others.
In the little free time he has, he enjoys playing two sports, which are very different but equally important to him: skiing and golf.