Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Miguel Marquez: I think it was when I realized that one grape could taste different depending on the terroir that it came from and it made me wonder “why?” And then, I felt the urge to share the terroir story for each grape. I think it is very cool that you can taste a grape’s “take” on a specific place.
What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
MM: I received my bachelor’s degree in restaurant management from CESSA (Centros de Estudios Superiores de San Angel) in Mexico City, which also gave me a double degree also certified by the EHL- Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland. I also have a minor in groups, weddings, conventions, and massive tourism by CESSA.
Before working full time in the wine industry, I worked in places like The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, and Disney World in Orlando Florida. I’ve worked in the hospitality business for the past 16 years. My family opened a restaurant in Mexico City on February 14, 1961, and it is still open and serves traditional Mexican food. I was always part of that project and right now I just carry my grandparent’s recipes.
How has being in the wine industry changed you?
MM: It’s a daily reminder of the importance to keep our production sustainable, to be conscious of where my food and beverages come from and how that is important for my life and body. I try to stay humble, to be present and aware, to stay curious and always ask myself “why things taste the way they do?”
What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
MM: Taking care of people, restoring them, that’s where the word “restaurant” comes from. And being strongly connected to a product that is rich, full of stories, and the hard work of lots of people and of course, pieces and bits of our mother earth. I love to share the stories from the land that grows the grapes and how that shapes the flavors in your glass.
Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
MM: As humans, we perceive life and the world through our senses, and generally, each human has a dominant sense. Mine is smell and the nose. I’ve always smelled everything, from fruits to stones, and if it’s not going to kill me I’ll smell it and if possible I’ll eat it. I guess that’s always been a thing for me. When I realized grapes had character and uniqueness it sort of “clicked” with me, and made me super curious about this awesome product.
Go visit Miguel at Portland’s new Vino Veritas Wine Bar and Bottle Shop, located at 7835 SE Stark Street, Portland, Oregon 97215
Follow @vinoveritaspdx on your favorite social media!