Marta Casas is the winemaker at Parés Baltà in Barcelona and is also a Sommeliere. We talked to her about her 20-year career, the art of winemaking and her favourite wines.5 min read
What’s a typical day for you?
As winemakers, my sister-in-law, Maria Elena, and myself are responsible for overseeing the entire wine production process. That includes grape-growing and harvesting, the art of winemaking, and can even cover sanitization and the data logging that helps move the winemaking process forward. You’ll find us working on 10-15 tasks simultaneously. We’re constantly running between the vineyard, cellar, lab and barrel room, working on everything from next year’s vintage to last year’s vintage. Our work depends on the season. For instance, before harvest (June- July in our hemisphere) we do precise and careful controls of ripeness. This is probably the most critical decision as it will tell us when grapes should be harvested.
How did you become a winemaker?
I like to say that I became a winemaker for love. I was studying to be a pharmacist at Barcelona University and met my husband, Josep, who is the third generation of the family winery. He showed me the amazing and beautiful world of wine and I fell in love with both my husband and the art of winemaking. While I was working as a pharmacist in Barcelona, I began to study Winemaking in Tarragona. Since then, I’ve been working with the family. It’s been almost 20 years and my sister-in-law and I are in charge of the winemaking. My husband and his brother Joan are in charge of sales and marketing.
What do you love and hate the most about the work?
I love the harvest season the most. Not just because each one is different and full of challenges, but because of the activity and the team work. The worst thing for me is the bureaucracy. It’s important, but it’s very boring.
What advice would you give to other aspiring winemakers?
This is a profession that involves sacrifices so you need to be passionate about it. You have to love what you do because without passion and love, wines won’t taste as good as they can. A winemaker must understand all aspects of the process, from the vineyard to the end consumer and be able to adapt to changing circumstances. You also must be a good wine taster.
Best mansplaining event?
It was 18 years ago when I went to the greatest wine fair in Barcelona and I met a guy that I knew from high school. I was already the winemaker at Parés Baltà but he thought I was a hostess. Nowadays, people better understand that a woman can be a winemaker, but for the 26-year-old me, it was challenging to introduce myself as a winemaker.
What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
A white wine with a hint of ageing served with a Spanish paella. Very simple but very tasty.
What’s your favorite style of wine?
Talking about white wines, I prefer monovarietal for their typical aromas and flavors, like Greek wines. My favourite red is Syrah. I love the Rhone style. We taste wines almost every day at work, but on the weekend we like to do blind tastings with the picks from our summer travels. When we have friends over, we decide on the wine together. Although my friends prefer that I choose for them.
Where’s your favorite place for a wine vacation?
All the wine regions over the world! Every year we choose one to discover. I love diving into the gastronomy, wines, culture and traditions. It’s the best way to get to know the region.
Which of your wines that we stock is your favorite?
Currently it’s the Cava Cuvée Carol, Espígol and the Blanc de Pacs. They’re all very different. Cuvee de Carol is the real expression of an aged cava with the queen of the cava variety, Macabeo. Espígol, a young mountain plot of Malvasia aged in demijohn that introduces you to the freshness of Mediterranean white wines. Blanc de Pacs I love for the tradition, the typical blend from Penedes, and the best beginning for wine lovers.
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