IN MEMORIAM: Pau Roca, by Luigi Moio

08 Dec 2023

With the death of Pau ROCA, the world of wine has lost a unique figure who left his mark on the recent history of the OIV, the world's leading scientific organisation for the entire wine sector

He was a cultured, refined man and an extraordinary innovator.  During the five years of his mandate as Director General of the organisation, which he masterfully led and which was due to end at the end of this year, he put his lucid intelligence at the service of world wine, working and fighting for a substantial renewal of the OIV which would give it a special place in the history of this prestigious intergovernmental organisation.

Thanks to his infinite desire to think big, his formidable intuition, his tenacity, his generosity, his altruism and his determination, the OIV has been completely revamped. We owe to him the development of the digitisation of the wine sector and organisation, the renewal and complete internationalisation of the OIV's operational structure, the strengthening of links with other intergovernmental organisations around the world and the expansion of the OIV's member countries to the current 50.


Pau also played a decisive role in the move to Dijon. Although aware of the radical upheaval that such a choice could entail for the OIV, he pursued his idea, often against the tide, but with great determination right to the end, to guarantee a physical identity and a solid future for the organisation which, in 2024, will enter its second century of activity. It is precisely the OIV's centenary celebrations that he has always supported with great enthusiasm, taking care to give the necessary solemnity to this extraordinary event, which the OIV deserves for its prestige and its long scientific and diplomatic history. 

For me, and I say this with pride and immense gratitude, he has been a precious friend. I had the great privilege of sharing two very intense years with him, during which so many dreams for the OIV were realised. The memories are many and intense, as are the fascinating discussions about wine and its future. We often talked about the universality of wine and its place in future society. His constant concern was the risk of delegitimising wine in the face of brutal changes in global society and of weakening the fundamental link between wine and its territories of origin. 


We should always remember that the main mission of the OIV, since its creation on 29 November 1924, has been to protect the integrity of wine and preserve its unique link with the land. An objective that we must never lose sight of, even in the light of the alarming concerns caused by global warming and changing perceptions of alcoholic beverages, in order to protect the cultural space that this extraordinary beverage has occupied in society for thousands of years.


Through his total dedication and profound reflections, you can sense that Pau always had the OIV in his heart, right up to his last breath. Indeed, despite his fatigue and the physical constraints of his illness, he insisted on making his last trip to Dijon, where the OIV is headquartered.


Perhaps a sign of hope that your work will continue towards an ever greater development of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine in the exclusive interest of an ever greater and more widespread affirmation of wine and its uniqueness.


Dearest Pau, the entire large family of the OIV and all the friends of world wine who were fortunate enough to know you will always remember you with admiration and edifying example.


I am left with the bitterness of not having had the opportunity to have you present at the OIV centenary celebrations and at the inauguration of the new headquarters.


I will always keep in my heart your friendliness, your extraordinary enthusiasm and your genuine friendship. 

My affectionate thoughts are with his wife and three children


Luigi Moio, OIV President