It might seem contradictory for a winery owner to also be a physician, but Patricia Ortiz defies definitions. She helms not one, not two, but three Argentine wineries: Tapiz, Zolo and Wapisa. She’s also a former nephrologist, or kidney specialist.
How can one person perform within such challenging fields—consistently—at such a high level? According to Ortiz, a passion for both art and science are partially to blame.
An avid art collector and philanthropist, life for Ortiz is a constant balancing act. From focusing on sustainability at her wineries to procuring and using state-of-the-art technology in the winemaking process, to researching, vetting and acquiring some of the world’s finest art, she is not one to leave important decisions to chance.
Here, Ortiz discusses what she wished for her younger self, the importance of sustainability and her love for Argentina.
What do you wish you knew when you started working in the industry?
I wish I had started off already acknowledging the power of nature. Technical teams can work hard and manage almost every aspect of the process of winemaking, and yet nature is the one that defines whether it will be a good or bad year. The moment we acknowledge nature and ecosystems are king, the importance of preserving natural resources and being respectful to the environment becomes self-evident.
What does sustainable winemaking mean to you?
Sustainable winemaking is not just doing the right thing. For us, it has become the only way to do things. Our company mission is to produce wines of the highest quality, respecting the environment and preserving the cultural values that make the identity of the land expressed in our products. The wine lover is our inspiration. From that high-level statement we then work down towards the design of the specific actions with the community and the environment. One of these pillars is education, through which we also seek to further entrench these values in the communities we work with, and the people who engage with our products.
You’re such a passionate ambassador for Mendoza. What do you wish more people in the wine business knew about the region?
Mendoza has an amazing wine industry that leaves its visitors speechless. High technology, great terroirs, and a sun that ripens and gives structure and colors to our unique wines. A very cosmopolitan place, combining great food and lodging, sophisticated wineries producing world-class wines, preserving and forwarding the local identity and flavors, and the best Malbec!
But I’m not just rooting for Mendoza, but for the whole wine region in Argentina!
The grandeur, the beauty and emptiness, the high skies in the Andes, the endless Patagonia with a rough coast in the south with green valleys like Cafayate in the north, truly makes people fall in love with the Andes. Enchanted regions scattered across the Andean backbone of the continent, producing wines, each with its unique identity.
“Sustainable winemaking is not just doing the right thing. For us, it has become the only way to do things.” — Patricia Ortiz
Who’s the most underrated person in drinks?
People working in the vineyards. Many consumers do not know the hard work that is done all year round. A vine needs to grow healthy in order to produce great wines. This requires a great deal of care: from pruning and tying to sprouting and curing. Lots of cultural work is done in summer and winter, beyond the process of harvest itself. The healthy grape is the start of the good wine, and many often-unseen workers have the ability and take on the responsibility to deliver high-quality grapes by skillfully caring for the vines all year round.
You’re at a dive bar. What do you order?