Miguel Marquez is a Mexican immigrant with a bachelor’s degree in restaurant management at “CESSA University,” a hospitality college in Mexico City. Miguel was born into a family with a traditional Mexican cuisine restaurant “Mi Cachito,” which opened in 1961 . He has extended his wine education to receive his WSET 3 and has become a certified Sommelier. Over the years, Miguel has worked in locations such as Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. Nowadays, he has planted roots in Portland, Oregon, where he is working as a Sommelier at an awesome bottle shop called Vino Veritas.
1. How did you get into the wine business?
I was born into a family with a traditional Mexican cuisine restaurant called “Mi Cachito” and helped out throughout my childhood. It was a natural progression to studying restaurant management at University.
Studying wine showed me how much more there is to learn about how life works, how my body works, and how history got us where we are right now, and I just wanted to share those ideas with everyone.
Wine can be part of a good moment, a dinner, a conversation; but it can also be politics, anthropology, gastronomy, biochemistry, art, geography, and more.
2. What are the most frustrating and rewarding parts of your job?
Pro: Being able to take care of people while delivering information that they might use in the future about how they experience wine: tasting it, the history of it, the communities where they are made. I enjoy showing people that immigrants are capable of more than what they see in some news, etc.(I get asked a lot where I am from, and guests are surprised when I say Mexico. I still can’t understand why it is such a surprise).
Cons: Wine tariffs
3. What is your most memorable/funniest/craziest wine experience?
Making my first pairing as a final grade of my wine course during college. The pairing was an ancient recipe from the Yucatán that we reproduce at my family’s business, Tacos de Cochinita Pibil with a Rosé “V” by Casa Madero made of Cabernet Sauvignon, from Parras Coahuila 2010 (yes, Mexican wine). It was a very special wine to pair my family’s tacos.
4. What is an upcoming trend you see in wine?
I think the next upcoming trend in wine will be lesser-known appellations becoming more available to consumers. People are interested and want to try more wine.
5. What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
Wine is here to give you an experience, not a status.
6. What is one tip you have for someone just getting into wine?
Always stay humble. Study it with love and passion. The history of wine is the history of humanity; it’s not an easy subject, but it’s definitely a story worth being told.
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