Pedro Ballesteros’ list of credentials is long. He holds an Agronomic Engineer degree and a Master’s in Viticulture and Oenology. He then got the WSET Diploma and became Master of Wine at the first. Pedro is a Member of Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino, a columnist for several wine publications and a judge at wine competitions.
This list is impressive and not at all comprehensive so read on to get to know the person as well as the brilliant mind behind these accomplishments.
What’s your favourite place in the entire world to enjoy a glass of wine?
Pedro Ballesteros: Any place provided I’m in good company, great mood and impeccable health. Even better if there is light, fresh air, a bit of silence, beautiful scenery and a sense of slowness around…
If you were to mentor someone just starting out in the industry, what piece of advice would you give them?
PB: Envision what you want. Find meaning in what you do. Be consistent, do not compromise on your dreams. Accept that everything has a cost. Enjoy, wildly.
What do you believe to be some of the most pressing challenges in the industry’s near future? How could we go about solving them?
PB: When it comes to challenges I have to mention climate change. Also, anti-alcohol movements, trade barriers, vinewood diseases and viral problems, dwindling biodiversity in the vineyards. They can be tackled with many strategies but it’s important that we, as an industry, be honest, brainstorm and exchange ideas, create alliances with other players and sectors and accept change as not only unavoidable but probably a good thing. And hope, because we also need good luck!
And which trends are here to stay?
PB: This list is long: diversification and further segmentation. Territorial approaches, local markets and circular economy. Artificial intelligence and big data in viticulture. Freshness and ‘naturalness’ (which is not very natural). Wine snobs and wine freaks.
What do you work towards in your free time?
PB: I try to spend as much time with loved ones as possible and just enjoy life.
How did you first fall in love with wine?
PB: By studying fermentation processes. I got hooked to the magic of yeasts, bacteria and viruses. And then by learning viticulture – something amazingly full of truth and a sense of real time (even more for an urbanite like myself). Only later on by actually tasting and drinking wine. Now, I need to add “thinking Wine” to the list.
If wine wasn’t your career of choice, what would you be doing?
PB: Defending the idea of the European Union as the highest political achievement ever, the reason why Western Europe has not suffered any war for more than 70 years. Never before could Europeans live in peace for three generations! Also, supporting energy transition towards a decarbonised society, one of the most exciting challenges of our times.
Which fellow speaker are you looking forward to hearing from the most at MUST 2019?
PB: All of them! I think the programme is utterly interesting.
We hope you’ll join Pedro Ballesteros, MW and other 16 world-class speakers at the third edition of MUST – Fermenting Ideas, happening June 26th-28th in Cascais, Portugal.