Hello! I’m Vinka Danitza, a Chilean-Canadian currently living in Spain. And this is my blog.
I was born in one of the most remote and isolated countries in the world, Chile. Some call Chile “el último rincón del mundo” (the last corner of the world); surrounded by the humbling Andes mountains to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the vast Atacama desert to the north and ice and penguins to the south. It is a long and narrow country that clings to the west side of South America, so far removed that the destructive 19th century epidemic Phylloxera, which decimated most of the vineyards throughout the world, never reached Chile due to its geographic inaccessibility. While Chileans may have been spared the hardships of Phylloxera and boast of original vitis vinifera grapevines, Chile is not without its own suffering and pain. The Pinochet dictatorship, which destroyed people, families and decimated one of the longest democratic systems in South America, was also responsible for the exile and migration of many people, including my family. So it was that at a very young age I was uprooted from my native country of Chile and replanted in the Canadian Shield, landing first in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but then ultimately settling in Toronto, Ontario.
As a Chilean-Canadian I have been blessed with an unquenchable thirst for wine and travel. Wine is an integral part of Chilean life and I’ve always been drawn to wines because it represents the joyous celebratory nature of Chileans. Every meal is a moment to celebrate and as a little girl in Chile, I patiently waited to be big enough to be able to enjoy this fascinating beverage.
My wine path began in April 2015 when I enrolled in the WSET Level 2 course at the Independent Wine Education Guild in Toronto, Canada. At the time, I was working for a software company and lived a life on auto-pilot, commuting each day to a job I disliked and that had no meaning to me beyond a paycheck. When I stepped into the WSET course, a spark was ignited in me which quickly grew into a bright fire and pushed me on a new path.
Since I began studying wines, traveling for wines and experiencing different aspects of the wine industry, I cannot imagine my life without it. Through wine, I have found joy, a sense of purpose and an unlimited desire to keep learning. I hold the WSET Level 3 in Wine & Spirits, a joint Masters degree in Wine Tourism Innovation from the University of Bordeaux, University of Porto and the University Rovira I Virgili (Spain), the French Wine Scholar certification, have two harvests under my belt and have twice been a speaker at the International Organization of Vine and Wine.
These are achievements that I am incredibly proud of. I have worked hard to achieve them, I have invested everything I ever saved to get from one level to the next, and I feel immense gratitude for the opportunities and teachers that have come my way. I am also grateful for my mistakes and challenges as I have navigated through the wine world. It has not always been easy.
Beyond my passion for wine, I’m an average human being. I love to run, hike, photography and cheese. I’m slightly addicted to Instagram and love watching Seinfeld. I currently live in Spain and I’m completing my PhD in Tourism and Leisure, and the WSET Diploma.