Isabel “Chabe” Mitarakis, Agricultural Engineer with a specialization in winemaking, is one of the members of the Concha y Toro Winemakers’ Team. She began her career ten years ago as a winemaker and is responsible for giving life to Gravas, the line of wines that pays tribute to the majestic Andes Mountains.
Learn more about her career in the world of wine.
1- What did you want to be when you grew up?
Since I was young, my family and I have been in contact with the countryside and vineyards. I used to spend long stretches of the summer out there participating in the harvest and learning about agricultural management.
It is a world that feels very close to be, very familiar, which is why I decided to study Agronomy.
2- What is your first memory related to the world of wine?
The conversations in my family have always revolved around wine, so I’ve been connected to this world from a very early age, and the world of wine has always been very familiar to me.
3- What is wine for you?
For me, it’s passion, the creation of a masterpiece, knowledge and connection to nature.
4- When and what was your first job?
5- Do you have any special/magical memory or experience as a winemaker?
Each wine harvest has something special, since there is a climate factor that you can’t control. But there is always something unexpected that delivers a unique characteristic to each harvest, and that, in the end, is something I consider magical in each one.
6 – What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
The biggest challenges are those that arise in each different wine harvest. You have to know how to respect its unique characteristics and extract the best expression of the grapes from the greatest terroirs here in Chile.
7 – What is the greatest risk you have taken in your job?
When the company named me the new winemaker of the Gravas line.
8- What do you consider to be your signature touch as a winemaker?
My signature touch as a winemaker is to take care of each and every detail involved in the winemaking process. But without interfering in the extraordinary expression of the vineyard’s grapes, or altering their qualities, to only guide them throughout the process.
10 – Is trust important for performing your job?
Of course. When doing a job, it is important to trust yourself, and this is particularly necessary when making decisions.
10- What does the concept of a “strong” person mean for you?
A strong person for me is one that follows their passion, with humility, respect, wisdom, and leadership. A person who leaves their mark on everything they do.
11- What strong women do you admire? What about in the world of wine?
Without a doubt my mother, Isabel Guilisasti. I see her as someone who has dedicated her life and her passion to the world of wine. Her dedication and energy have left their mark on me. She has also been one of the women that have allowed me to clearly see that there are no barriers between men and women in the industry today.
12- What makes Andean wines unique?
What makes these types of wines unique is the presence of the Andes Mountains and their effects on the specific terroirs, influencing the climate, soils and vineyards. This creates unique areas for developing the best expression of the grapes.
13- What is your favorite wine from the Gravas line? Why?
That’s such a hard choice, because I love all three of them. It really depends a lot on the occasion.
14- What is your favorite valley and vineyard? Why?
I have a favorite valley for red wines, and a favorite valley for whites.
For red wines, the valley I like the most is Maipo, and my favorite vineyard is Puente Alto, thanks to the soft and elegant tannins found in wines from this origin.
And for whites, my favorite valley is Bio-Bio, home to the Gravas Sauvignon Blanc, thanks to the freshness and fruit expression characteristic of this area.
15- What lessons or advice would you give to another female winemaker just starting out in her career?
My advice would be to take advantage of each harvest, to act like a sponge and take in the most knowledge she can, to learn from all the people in the winery, and to always be willing to learn something new. This is the time when all the stuff you learn in school and all the theory is put into practice, and it is very important to know how to channel it all.