Meg McFarland, a graduate of the SPS MA program in Hispanic Studies, has made a career out of her education in Spanish, which has led her to a vineyard on the slopes of the Peruvian Andes. Owner and operator of Apu Winery, her company, founded with her husband Fernando Gonzales-Lattini.
McFarland’s career started out in academia with five years at University of Puget Sound, but moved in another direction: “I loved teaching, but my desire to be an entrepreneur was even more compelling, so I decided to leave the university and pursue a career in business.” She found success with her product PiscoLogia, a brand of pisco, a clear brandy produced in Perú.
McFarland has leveraged the success of PiscoLogia into a new venture: “three years after launching PiscoLogía in the U.S., with viticulture and industry knowledge under my belt, my husband and I decided to start a vineyard in the Peruvian Andes. Apu Winery is located 2 hours from Cusco at more than 9,000 feet above sea level, making us one of the highest wineries in the world.”
Although her career took her out of academia, McFarland’s training in Spanish is essential to being able to conduct business: “Reading and discussing literature in Spanish helped me speak and write Spanish at a native-level. While operating my businesses, I use Spanish to complete tasks such as: supervising production and employees, negotiating contracts, analyzing and discussing legal and financial documents, collaborating with distributors in Spain and Latin America, and exporting goods. I could not complete any of the aforementioned without sophisticated Spanish skills.”
McFarland also credits her education in Liberal Arts with developing her critical reading and thinking skills: “Studying literature gave me critical reading and thinking skills, providing me the tools I need to solve complex problems, both in my businesses and everyday life. With these skills, I feel confident in my ability to evaluate information and think outside the box to make sound decisions.”
Knowledge and use of Spanish has shaped and enriched McFarland’s life: “The Spanish language has enriched my life immensely. I have lived in Spain, Mexico, and Peru and I have traveled to almost every Spanish-speaking country in the world. Knowing the language of these magnificent places has allowed me to form valuable relationships and gain a deep appreciation of their cultures.”
Meg McFarland, an alumna of the University of Washington, completed her BA in Spanish in 2001 and her MA in Hispanic Studies in 2006. She also participated in the UW’s Direct Exchange program at the University of Granada, Spain.
By Casey Colvin