Marinela Vasilica Ardelean: So good you want one more glass.

By August 17, 2018

Marinela Vasilica Ardelean

From: Baia Mare Born on: 1 January 1983 Occupation: Wine critic, author and entrepreneur

I noted on the phone as soon as I got into taxi the word sensorial.

I often remain with a strong impression after the discussions I have with the interviewed people. It manifests itself as a recall in which I review gestures, repeat questions and receive answers, discover details and conclude how the two hours – in this case, have outlined a profile. The impression is the closest to the truth, right then, after you said goodbye.

I typed sensorial and I pressed save.

Marinela V. Ardelean is a wine critic, professor of the Italian Chef Academy, a book writer– The Wine book of Romania (volume I – 2016, volume II – 2017 & volume III – 2018), organizer of the International Wine Festival of Romania, Global Brand Ambassador of Brâncoveanu’s brandy included in Alexandrion Group‘s portfolio and a skilled promoter of Romanian wines in all possible directions. She also elaborates communication and brand strategies for wine producers: she designs the labels, prepare the product for a certain target, for a certain type of consumer or a certain market. Recently she became Antonia’s mother.

For 21 minutes I analized the adjective meaning by comparing it with the interlocutor character. I initially questioned Marinela’s sensory particularity. The temptation to entrust this attribute to her maternal side, misled me for a few seconds. Then I put the words in order and followed the thread. The senses have been alert for a long time, the daughter’s birth just polished them.

Antonia has almost nine months, and I have had the opportunity to observe many times my parents’ approach to her. “It must smell and taste everything. Put the finger even in the foam of the coffee even if she only a small number of months of life. That’s how we did with you!”, they say. Thus, what I believed was confirmed to me: that early exposure to as many experiences of this kind develops your senses. If you train them well enough at an early age, you have a big chance to use them later as tools. Just what I do when it comes to wine.

She was born in Baia Mare, lived in the Maramureş area until she grew up, close to the age of 18, and then she continued her life in Italy. There she learned, understood and felt the expression Ti voglio bene! (a different I love you), while here she appreciates the word Mulţumesc! (Thank you!).  Since 2014 she has begun to come to Romania more often, although she is established in the wearable peninsula. His DNA has something of the Dacians. She fights and loves wine, not in the same way, but as much as they did. With patience (and sometimes she loses it), she creates together with the producers a wide path through the world so that the Romanian wine can walk freely. She is absolutely convinced of his quality and says that it is appreciated by any international taste.

She believes in education, but especially in the training that comes after some life experience, after you gain a mental balance. She considers that only reaching this stage you know what you want from life. Her journey was an adventure, with various challenges and with enough enthusiasm and determination so that she materialized it into remarkable results through effort and intelligence. She asked for the advice of the right people, but especially she had a sincere dialogue with herself from all points of view: I can do it or cannot do it, I like it or I do not like it, what do I feel?

Being pretended with yourself is a huge compromise that doesn’t take you too far.

There is no more important woman in my life.

Marinela Ardelean is guided in her life by the following three points of reference: family, sincerity and respect – to yourself and to others. As the enumeration shows, the most valuable one is also the first pronounced.

For me a principle in life is family, understanding and respecting it.

I hear a lot of people saying, “It’s like part of my family.” But my family consists in my mother, father, brothers, child and my life partner. And grandparents, if you are lucky enough to still have them in your life. Only that! It is true, friends are an essential part of our lives. Having a real friend means enjoying different perspectives of life, but also to be sure that he helps you to get through difficult times, and supporting yourself when needed. The way a friend does all these things, the family may not be able to provide it. But a healthy relationship with the family (which probably implies a life time work) does not compare to anything in the world. I believe that it helps us even to excel in our professional life. It’s hard, the most valuable gestures do not always come naturally, but it’s worth investing time and feelings in the family. Let’s invest in behavior, let’s learn to communicate and to create an indissoluble link with the family.

My best friend is my mother. There is no more important woman in my life. I tell her everything because I feel unlimited trust and because I know that, even she has not the same opinion as me, she doesn’t judge me.

– So, slowly, did you make her too – open to share, like you?

– No, it’s not that simple. She doesn’t tell me. I insist, she tells me more, but she maintains the role of parent, more than I keep the daughter’s. She encourages me to be open, but she keeps herself at a small small distance away. Initially, she argued me and then I said to her: “If you do that, I’m not telling you. If you don’t agree, please don’t say anything, but try to listen.”

My mother comes from a lifestyle and a family context where you did not talk about relationships or more intimate things. She belongs to a generation with many communication difficulties and personally I think I’ve managed to change a lot from the approach she was born and grew up with. It took me several years, but I did it. It is so beautiful to tell things freely and have this dialogue with your mother in the first place, but with your parents in general.

I told Marinela and I also mention here how beautiful the mother-daughter relationship was visible in the interview took by Andreea Esca to Europa FM some time ago. It was palpable the desire of the two to maintain or further strengthen their relationship. On the morning of that day, she sent a picture to her mother: “I wanted to see that I was wearing a traditional blouse (ie). She remembers that day and confesses very proudly: “But now we’ve progressed, we’re using the Face Time app, we’re going to the video, as younger generations do.

– What you say, Marinela, tells me there are times when you have to invest more in one or the other, don’t you?” It looks like this.

– Yeah, you cannot do it all at once. I think you have chances in life. There are certain times when you are offered opportunities. If you feel it’s like a glove that suits you perfectly, follow it. But without creating irreversible damage. If you can repair them, it’s not that bad. But if you do things that hurt people around you, or even those close to you so bad that you do not have what to recover, I do not know how much it worth. It sounds weird, but it’s easier to break a chair than to say a word that once pronounced, can do a lot more harm. The relationship has gone forever.


Well done, my baby! I’s ok, we also will learn to temper ourselves!

Before I was more impulsive and unstoppable: I do, I fly, I in. Now is very important my time with Antonia also. I can’t wait to grow up and go together everywhere. It resembles a lot to me. We both have the same unstoppable appetite – the curiosity of trying anything, we are explosive at the moment and then we calm down, and she laughs all the time – we have a high level of enthusiasm.

I like that when she wants something it is visible. For example, I gave her to taste ice cream, and then, after she discovered the flavor, she grabbed the cornet with her small, and did not want to let it go under no circumstances. At age of 7 months. What can I say?! “ Well done, my baby! I’s ok, we also will learn to temper ourselves!”

We’ve always put her with us at the table. To assist from her special chair, to see us and learn. At the table, we talk about what we eat, taste everything and turn everything into an experience. No TV or radio turned on. No; breakfast is breakfast, lunch is lunch and dinner is dinner. All together at the table. Everybody speaking. And it is a pleasure to see her sitting there. She puts her hands in everything and she explore the table and she unfolds and she is all a cream and mess. This freedom is part of her development.

In a normal empty bistro on a warm Tuesday morning, we were two people in dialogue staying in the centre of a green velvet sofa. There, on both sides, is enough room for another 10 people. Marinela puts her hands in the white trousers pockets and relaxes, crossing her legs and in the same time she fixes her right sandal on the marble with a chessboard pattern. She’s searching for her words, focusing for a second to the modern wood ceiling grille. A look at 45 degrees.

She previously said she is in a selection process. She’s currently looking for 2017 wines. She wants to put some of them aside.

As if she is trying to capture a distant act, she begins to tell me about her recent time travel. Not just in the past, but also in the future.

“Last night before I fell asleep I was thinking: What wine to choose? What vineyard? How to be? I imagined how at her 10th anniversary we will be hesitating and curious: Should we open this wine or the other? How did the one from there evolved? Wine mustn’t be a profession to enjoy it.” 

She wants to share everything with her daughter: memories, stories, sensations, and build on, more, I would say, over the mother-daughter relationship – as she learned from her experience that such a relationship might be.

Give me one more arm!!!

– You said at some point that you are convinced by the potential of women in Romania. What makes you believe in them?

– The historical context and somehow the relationship between woman and man. The Romanian itself has a major predisposition to sacrifice comparing to other countries. The Romanian woman has gone through more difficulties than a woman from France or Italy, for example. We have strengthened, we have become stronger, more courageous, more fighters. First of all we have as an advantage the femininity that used with intelligence, along with all the above qualities, makes from you a complete woman. A kind of yin & yang, character and femininity.

I was born in Maramures, I visited the country as much as I could, but I did not discover true Romania. To know real Romania, you have to get to Bucharest and interact with all the typologies of Romanians. This is how you notice the good things – the desire to make, to discover, to be competitive, and the less good things – the mentality defined by “I can’t and I want the same for you” or men who uplift the woman but inside them you find a form of aggressive misogyny.

When I came to the Romanian wine industry there were some “earthquakes”. Something has moved the existing “balance” just because another person has come. A woman. I am not 60 years old and again this was revolting.

I have not been protected, I have lived alone since I was 14 years old, but it was surprising to hit these sides of the country. I managed to cope with and get out of … (she raised his hands to her eyes level, representing circular movements in the shape of a) … “cocoon”. (A cocoon as a world of her, not protective, but only without some “outside” information.)

For example, I will take part in an international wine competition in South Africa and I am the first Romanian to judge in this contest, the largest in the region, and the jury is made up of almost half of women. It’s a fair approach, I would say.

A mentality that I apply to the world of wine, in which the man and the woman are completing, probably better than in any industry. The woman has a more developed sensitivity than the man, and he has the ability to be sometimes more objective. And when you put on the table, face to face, a man and a woman to judge a wine, it lasts longer but gives the most complete result.

– We started from the Romanian woman in whose forces you believe. Why did you test your strengths and have you always chosen difficult or more difficult goals for a woman?

– I don’t know how many have noticed this so far, apart from my parents.

She lifted her back from the bench, leaned against the table top and drew a straight line with her left hand, followed by a meandering line with her right hand, quoting: “You instead of taking the simplest way, you always get zigzag, the heaviest and most demanding route.” Why? … Probably often when I was young or very young I was first seen for appearance. And from the desire to become more noticeable from professional or intellectual point of view, I have chosen more difficult fields. I wanted to balance an imbalance that was only in my imagination. And so I chose the biggest boulders. On the other hand, the fact that my parents did not tell me often “How proud of you we are!” gave birth to the need for more. Indirectly I felt it was not enough, and from the desire to be appreciated I always challenged myself.

I have overcome these moments a long time ago, and now I am used to the boulders.

And I think that generally the multifunctional nature of the woman makes her situation more difficult, having too much to carry on her shoulders. But I would not change that for anything in the world. It’s good; I say that’s why we’re so beautiful. Give me one more arm!!! (she says it laughing).


Wine is alive and wine is life.

I had heard Marinela some time ago saying that “wine is alive and wine is life.” I did not understand at all. “Only a wine lover can make such a description,” I said.

– What happens in your mind when wine touches the taste papillae for a tasting?

– Depends, I like the wine or I don’t like it?

If I like and I want to have a moment of relaxation to recharge or discharge me, then either I get a book I started and I didn’t manage to finish it (or even more is a book which I did not start (laughs) and I take it with all the enthusiasm), unpack a bottle of wine and – a professional disadvantage – I also analyse it, because II cannot just enjoy it.

It is a unique sensation at first smell and first taste. Continuing to taste, the taste changes. It does this two or three times until it reaches a much slower rate of evolution than at the beginning. It is a harmony in taste. Initially it’s an explosion of flavors … You know?! It’s like meeting a person. You see it and you have an idea of ​​what he is like. Then, after you have a dialogue, you created a profile. And after telling stories you realize a lot about he. So it is with wine: you see it, talk to it and get to know it. You discover its personality and it never surprises you as it did at the beginning.

– And when you evaluate him?

– A oenologist is truly professional when he manages to be very objective, removing much of the subjectivity. You cannot get away completely and you do not have to. Your personal fingerprint is necessary. As you progress professionally, the standards accumulated in your training and study turn into the tools behind your personal approach. For example, for many people the color is very, but very important to a wine. Be a bright red ruby. If it is a violet and bright red it loses its worth. I say that color is important, but not as essential as the smell and the taste. On my scale of wine values, the first place is occupied by the smell, and then by the taste. Why? Because if the smell doesn’t attract me, I stop there and I do not get to the taste. It’s like a person, if you do not have compatibility – maybe an initial attraction, you do not go to talk to her.

Then after you smell, you look for harmony – so you search for being drinkable – even if there is no word in the Romanian dictionary for this – one of the most important characteristics of a wine. If it is not drinkable it is no good. And I’m not talking about being potable, but about being so good you want one more glass.

In an international competition you have to present yourself with all your history of “senses”. Questions reach the smallest details: Is it a rather floral or rather mineral scent? If your experiences did not start early, it is harder to acquire them later. You can start a career on tasting wine at 40, but certainly many flavors are missing from your vocabulary. The style in which she was grown and the sensations she lived: the smell of the forest, of the rocks, of the fruits, developed her curiosity and formed the necessary basis in the wine world. Now she can participate in the most demanding and refined tasting process, using her olfactory and testing memory like a drawer from which she uses what is needed when needed. However, it takes care to refresh the stored information with any occasion.

– Do you foresee tourism through the vineyards in Romania?

– It is a must! Because wine is best known, appreciated and sold at the wine cellar, alongside the owner or the one who makes it. Moreover, there will be created a relation between the brand and the consumer. I think it is an opportunity that wine producers in Romania are learning or starting slowly to fructify it. But it is not as if you were opening your door and saying: “Hey, come here!” So, we must first learn to do tourism. It’s not that simple, because you’re dealing with the audience, with an audience getting more and more pretentious. And when you invite people to the wine cellar and offer them four or five wines for tasting, or you do it like the new world – in a mathematical way or do it like in Italy – where you fell that the tasting day doesn’t end. So, you have to find a formula that is compatible with your identity.

This approach is also necessary as a channel of education, because when a person reaches the wine cellar she comes not only to taste the wine and to see the place, she comes for a whole experience through which is learning about wine. At the end of a visit, you might know how a particular wine harvest was or how to make the winery in red. And so you build up a culture that will help you in the next wine tasting, whether you are doing it at home with your friends or at the wine cellar. I encourage more and more producers to think of wine as a package: to feed the consumer intellectually and emotionally.

It’s cool!

– Mrs. Ardelean, when are you drinking champagne?

– Every time I get the chance, she responds, then laughs.

– I prefer to drink champagne when it’s not the time. I do not need a special event to enjoy sparkling wine.

She takes a noble and relaxed attitude and describes slowly: Let’s say it’s four afternoons; I had a morning full with phones, emails, tasks like that; I ate at 13:00; no wine was consumed at noon and it is sunny, it may be even bad weather – it doesn’t matter. Maybe is someone with me or I can be alone, I start the music and open the champagne. I put a glass and go on into the day. These are the best moments. It’s like taking a holiday coat on an ordinary day of work. It’s like defying life. It’s cool!


Although the responsibilities constrain her and the role of mother asks for it right, as also does her professional side, Marinela Ardelean keeps time for herself.

– I’m trying to see my friends, go to a massage or just do nothing – just walk around and clear my thoughts.

– But you have come to deserve this time, I say. 

– But we all deserve it … It’s just … What we deserve, only we can say, no one else. We deserve that and we take it. You have to live the moment and to taste it without any special occasion. It has to be bite out of life every time.

Her way of being seems a beautiful combination between something native and something acquired over time with self-imposed inserts. I refer to the enthusiasm with which she encounters things, to the receptivity she lives with, but also to the general “appetite” with which she reacts in front of the moment.

Her advanced senses accompany her, not only in the wine world but also in the everyday life.

More about Marinela V. Ardelean’s activities and projects can be found on her personal Facebook page Instagram, and her own platform –

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