Mariana Marginean is one of the oenologists who take care of the wines made by the largest family business in the world of Romanian wine – Jidvei. When she talks about wine, among the words you would expect from a well-trained professional, one feels echoes of a work loaded with emotion, in which every step, from grape to glass, is capable of creating memories for a lifetime.
1. Which was the moment when you realized that your personal destiny is linked to wine?
I still have very fresh memories of my first harvest campaign, it was a unique atmosphere, a celebration of our vineyard and, since then, each and every year, I experience the same joy. Following the step by step transformation of the grape into wine, I was fascinated by the whole process, by the way wine is born. I can say that it is almost emotional to watch it, day by day, with care and attention, like you do with a child, to see how it develops and starts heading towards maturity. I think that was the moment when I realized that wine will be an important part of my life.
2. What style of wine do you prefer, in general?
I can’t say that I have a favorite wine or that I like a particular style of wine. For me, every occasion I have to taste new wines is a joy and, although I pass them through my critical filter, it’s probably a professional defect, I always appreciate the work that was done.
The effort to create a good wine is very high, and the success depends, every time, on several factors – the characteristics of the year, the moment of harvest, the style and methods of winemaking, etc. And wine is not only science, wine is a bridge between the place where it comes from and the people tasting it. Furthermore, the wine tells the whole world the story of the vineyard where it was created and carries in it a part of the personality of the winemaker, of the viticulturist, of all those who took care of it and the vineyard. So I am very careful when I taste a wine, not to judge, but to observe.
3 . How do you choose different wines, depending on certain moments?
I try to choose the wine so that it is suitable for the moment in which it will be consumed. If it is an anniversary, I will definitely choose the sparkling wine that brings that festive note, and for a dinner with friends a dry white wine. But honestly, a sparkling wine is pleasant at any time, because the effervescence brings nobility to any moment.
4. What was the perfect pairing?
For me, the perfect pairing does not only mean the correct association of wine with food, the perfect pairing means the atmosphere in which the wine is enjoyed, the company you are in and of course, the place that conveys certain emotions. We are very connected to Bethlen-Haller Castle, which is more than an imposing castle, it is the symbol of all Jidvei wines, a symbol of our work. Everything blends harmoniously there – the dream setting, the wonderful people, the food and the wine.
5. How much decision-making power do women have in the Romanian wine market?
At this moment, I can say that women are more and more present in the world of Romanian wine, if we look at the production departments, at the tasting juries within wine and distillate competitions, at the official institutions, at the winemaking organizations, as well as in entrepreneurship. Although at first glance, wine may seem like a man’s world, today, women are well represented in this sector and certainly, the feminine side will be more and more present in the years to come.
6. What do women know about wine that men don’t yet know?
I like to think that, when we talk about fields in which science has a significant role, there are no secrets or differences between men and women. It can differentiate our personality and from here different perspectives and approaches can appear. There are truly remarkable women oenologists who have created extraordinary wines, just as there are men who have created impressive wines.
Us women, we have that intuition that characterizes us and that willingness to pay attention, to take care and grow the wine, to offer ourselves in the process. And I say this because for me wine is not just a technological process, but an emotional process. I am very aware of the fact that I have the responsibility to create not only a good drink. I, as an oenologist, must value the passion and effort of all those involved. And above all, I have the huge responsibility to reproduce, in every drop of wine, the uniqueness and genuineness of the Jidvei Vineyard terroir.
In March, Wines of Romania set out to honor the role of women in the world of Romanian wine. We are therefore preparing a series of materials – interviews, articles and social media posts – to draw the public’s attention to the role of women in oenology. Come back for more portraits, until then you can read below about: