The celebration of Winemaker's Day offers the ideal chance to traverse the insights of the great Mariano Di Paola, Director of Enology at Rutini Wines, shedding light on his profession, some of his unparalleled experiences, his perspective on current enology, and some memories.
For many years, Mariano taught at the Don Bosco Faculty of Enology and Food Sciences of the Universidad Católica de Cuyo. Mariano frequently places inspirational quotes in the winery to share with his team; one such quote reads, "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means" by Albert Einstein.
It's redundant to enumerate all of Mariano's achievements throughout his career. However, it's noteworthy that he was chosen as the Legendary Winemaker by the esteemed Tim Atkin in 2018, and this year he was named Winemaker of the Year by the Descorchados Guide by the renowned Patricio Tapia.
Here are the reflections he shared during a relaxed conversation one afternoon in Mendoza a few days ago.
How did you decide on your profession, and what do you love most about it?
My love for my profession started very early. At my grandparents' and parents' homes, we drank wine. There was a garden, vine trellises, and a profound respect for nature. That environment influenced me to choose a profession outdoors and connected to viticulture. What I love most is being in contact with wines. I have overseen 43 harvests and enjoy every day I spend in the winery. I do what I love, get paid for it, and am fortunate to be in a continually growing company.
What is your approach to winemaking? Do you follow a particular philosophy? Ideally, how would your "perfect" wine be and why?
The winery's and the entire team's focus is on quality. For this, we built a new winery in Tupungato in 2008, incorporating all available technology toward this aim. Our philosophy revolves around consistency in wine production, always striving for improvement. The perfect wine? Undoubtedly, it's the one that pleases the consumer.
What trends do you notice in wine styles and winemaking practices in Argentina and globally? How might they impact our industry?
The current trend is to adopt new winemaking practices, seeking new wine styles. We are in favor of innovation and don't dismiss any practice without conducting our experiments. We must remember that our label's consumers are accustomed to a particular wine style, so changes can't be too abrupt.
What are your views on climate change, and how do you think it will impact Argentine wine style in the coming decades?
Undoubtedly, there's a problem, especially with water scarcity due to less precipitation, decreased snowfall, and shrinking glaciers in the high mountains. Global warming causes abrupt temperature fluctuations. We must be very attentive to the vineyard and have great flexibility to mitigate these contingencies. However, we are lucky to have vineyards at different altitudes, which allows us to maintain the thermal amplitude so that its development is balanced. Optimizing these resources through water and carbon footprint measurements, the Sustainable Winery Protocol, and the Global Gap Certification for good agronomic practices are examples of a more conscious effort looking forward.