`Innovative Olive Oil Producer and Vintner, Carlos Falcó, Dies From COVID-19

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Innovative Olive Oil Producer and Vintner, Carlos Falcó, Dies From COVID-19

Mar. 27, 2020
Daniel Dawson

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Car­los Falcó y Fer­nandéz de Cór­dova, an inno­v­a­tive vint­ner and olive oil pro­ducer, has died at the age of 83 due to com­pli­ca­tions caused by COVID-19.

Born in Seville in 1937, the fifth Mar­qués de Griñón had an aris­to­cratic upbring­ing and spent his child­hood play­ing with Juan Car­los I, the future king of Spain. How­ever, those who knew him well said he was born to be an entre­pre­neur.

Though he grew up in a renowned Span­ish wine region, Falcó first became inter­ested in wine­mak­ing while study­ing agri­cul­tural engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis in 1960.

After com­plet­ing his stud­ies, Falcó returned to Spain and set­tled near Toledo. Once back on the fam­ily estate, he began plant­ing for­eign grape vari­eties, a prac­tice that had been pre­vi­ously banned in Spain. In spite of this, his first vin­tage was well received in 1983.

Falcó also rev­o­lu­tion­ized his family’s olive oil pro­duc­tion prac­tices. While the estate had been pro­duc­ing oil for cen­turies, Falcó was dis­sat­is­fied with its low qual­ity.


In 1989, he trav­eled to Tus­cany and enlisted the help of Marco Mugelli, an inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized agri­cul­tural sci­en­tist, engi­neer and olive oil expert, to help improve his estate’s pro­duc­tion prac­tices.

The trip paid off and in 2002, Falcó pro­duced an extra vir­gin olive oil that, caused a stir at the gourmet food con­ven­tion, Madrid Fusion. Accord­ing to his daugh­ter, Xan­dra Falcó Girod, this began a trend of high-qual­ity olive oil pro­duc­tion in Spain.

In the sec­ond half of his life, Falcó worked hard to pro­mote olive oil as a healthy and arti­sanal prod­uct. While pro­mot­ing his 2013 book, Oleum, he laid out a vision for the future of olive oil.

[It must be] sup­ported by a tech­no­log­i­cal, qual­i­ta­tive, dietary and com­mu­ni­ca­tion rev­o­lu­tion that increases its attrac­tive­ness, that defin­i­tively leaves behind its cur­rent sta­tus as a raw mate­r­ial with lit­tle com­mer­cial cred­i­bil­ity and occu­pies the lead­ing role it deserves in a new cul­ture that high­lights its sta­tus as a star of the Mediter­ranean diet,” he said.

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