Sustainable spirit

Merelyn Valdivia (GEN Member since 2015)

We think globally, and we act locally.

My name is Merelyn Valdivia. I’m 31, I’m a Peruvian scientist, mother of a little girl and the Marketing Director at my family business, Pisco 1901 “Sustainable Spirit”.

I’m the fifth generation of a family of agroecological vineyard guardians. I learned viticulture from my female ancestors (my grandmother Lilia and my mom Sara): they all gave me deep roots and respect for the earth.

When I was 14 years old, I left my hometown looking for better schools and later professional possibilities. Passion & Love were my guides during this period. Despite the limited educational opportunities in Peru, especially for low-income families like mine, I obtained my Masters and then found international career jobs. I work for sustainability because I truly believe that our actions have a global impact on our future.

Looking back at my roots, I see we’ve been working through organic methods for Pisco production for almost a century in Caravelí (Arequipa, Peru); thus after years of research I decided to do something concrete about sustainability. I helped to develop a business model based on ecosystems restoration and low carbon emission, where our core impacts are focused on climate action, ecosystem protection, economic opportunities and saving clean water. We are in business to protect our ecosystems and the planet.

With my family, we are legendary guardians of soils, biodiversity (bees, trees and flowers) and ancestral enological traditions. All of these values I want to pass on to my children, but we need to make the economic dimension work too, in order to do sustainable viticulture. For that reason, I helped develop and design the concept of two new product lines: “Vid’Altura” and “El Imposible”. Both represent our values of ecological and ancestral production, building on an amazing comparative advantage: that our land is recognized as the only “Pisco production zone” in the Peruvian Andes.

If you want to know more about us, you can try our products, visit our website or even better, come and visit us in Caravelí. By being a conscious consumer you are keeping nature and the ancestral way of producing Pisco alive.

Merelyn Valdivia first joined GEN as a participant GEN’s first regional academy in Latin America, 1a Academia Latinoamericana de Liderazgo Socio-ambiental (ALLSA), held in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, 13–22 November 2015. She then went on to co-organise the Latin American School for Food Systems Resilience 2019 in Peru in 2019, and was invited as a speaker at our GEN In Conversation series event, What does food mean to me, you us? in 2020.

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