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Pedro Ballesteros



Pedro Ballesteros Torres (Quart de Poblet, Valencia, 1961) recently became the second Spaniard to be recognised with the prestigious distinction of Master of Wine. However, in his case, and in contrast to the majority of the select group of 283 members who make up the UK institute, his life is not devoted to the world of wine. Nevertheless, his passion for learning and for accumulating knowledge about his hobby driven him to undertake one of the most demanding study schedules currently available on the international scene. Pedro Ballesteros has worked as a consultant on environmental issues for various institutes and currently holds a position on the European Commission Energy Committee. Over the years he has artfully combined his life-long learning process of all things relating to wine with a successful career. His recent recognition as Master of Wine, as well as being an indisputable personal achievement, is another opportunity for Spanish wines and professionals to gain even more relevance on the world stage.


Drawn to the agricultural and food industry, Pedro Ballesteros studied Agricultural Engineering in Madrid and holds a MA in Oenology and Viticulture. He later went on to study at the WSET Academy in Holland, and was also the second Spaniard to graduate at Weinakademiker in Geisenheim (Germany). His academic background allowed him to balance the technical knowledge gained during his master’s degree in Spain with greater hands-on experience, which is a trademark of the two aforementioned educational institutes. According to Ballesteros: “WSET and Weinakademiker require you to have solid ‘blind’ organoleptic knowledge of model wines from around the world, what’s more you have to understand the wine business in order to graduate”.


With this impressive CV under his belt, Pedro Ballesteros began to take part in judging panels in prestigious international competitions, such as the International Wine Challenge in London or the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Experiences which, for this Master of Wine, are especially useful as they allow him to continue with his wine education while at the same time providing an essential service to consumers and producers alike. By submitting their wines to a jury panel winemakers are made aware of their product’s weaknesses, which is essential if they are to improve. “Every competition is a world apart, with its own particular rules. The most interesting aspect being the blind tasting of comparable wines, which gives you a very precise idea of what you can expect from different types of wine, it allows you to concentrate on quality, and most of all, it teaches you to be humble”.


Always carried out as a hobby in parallel to his work as an environmental and energy consultant, Pedro Ballesteros, motivated by his “passion for wine and always itching to do something more” decided to study in order to obtain one of the most highly esteemed and exclusive academic distinctions currently available in the world of wine, the title of Master of Wine. Three years of sacrifice, travelling, and many hours of study, through which he was mentored by his colleague and friend, Frank Smulders MW, as well as the invaluable support of his family were all, according to Ballesteros, fundamental in helping him to pass the difficult challenges he had to face during his preparation.


The title of Master of Wine, granted by the UK Institute of Masters of Wine, covers every aspect associated with the wine world, from technical and organoleptic topics, to those concerning the market and retail. Currently made up of 283 members from 23 countries, the Institute brings together the world’s most exceptional experts in the wine industry and is deeply committed to disseminating knowledge about all things concerning wine. For Pedro Ballesteros, the experience of the past three years has given him the opportunity of meeting the greatest experts from the world of wine, of visiting wonderful places and of learning about, as well as being able to taste, “glory in liquid form”. “When it was announced that I had been accepted as Master of Wine I received messages of congratulations from many of my wine-world ‘heroes’, people who shape the market. In fact sometimes I wake up thinking that it’s all been just a dream…”


Passionate about wine due to the immense variety on offer and with over 1,000 personal favourites chosen from the many he has known, and based on the knowledge he has gained, Pedro Ballesteros combines his passion with the environmental work he carries out at the European Commission. From this perspective, the Master of Wine is convinced that the care and attention given to the land as well as the respect shown for the environment ought to be much more than just a business option and become a reason for being; whose final aim lies in transmitting this quintessential quality through the wines themselves. As an example of how this can be done, the expert cites the religious orders who founded quality viticulture: “Wine becomes much more that a mere drink when it is associated with a culture and its natural surroundings. A wine which is not the result of someone’s passion for the land has very limited interest, immaterial to the pleasant flavour it might have”.


As a first-hand connoisseur of European policy and the wine market – in fact, his final dissertation to because a Master of Wine focused on both subjects – Pedro Ballesteros is lobbying for a redefinition of EU environmental politics and to give a greater voice to local authorities in line with current policies carried out in New World wine countries. His opinion about Spanish wines is that Spain already has a head start in so many ways, which, with a little more commitment to quality issues and agricultural policy, should help it to become the world’s number one supplier.


After being recognised with the prestigious distinction of Master of Wine, Pedro Ballesteros aims to continue learning about the world of wine as much as he possibly can; a hobby which has led him to rub shoulders with the world’s most outstanding wine experts. Another of his projects is to get involved with the Institute of Masters of Wine’s dissemination program, stating that “hopefully in the near future, some other Spaniards will say that I helped them to become Masters of Wine too”.


Gran Orden de Caballeros Inducts Two New Members in 2017. One of them was Pedro Ballesteros. The Gran Orden recognizes professionals who have gone above and beyond to promote the Spanish wine industry

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