Proprietor, Orfila Vineyards & Winery
Alejandro Orfila was born in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1925 to a family that has been involved in winemaking for four generations. In 1905, his grandfather established Jose Orfila Limited, a winery that still exists today in Argentina. Although he chose a career in diplomacy (his father was governor of the Argentine state of Mendoza), he never lost his interest in viticulture. Orfila studied Law at the University of Buenos Aires. Later, he studied political science at Stanford University in California and foreign trade at Tulane University in Louisiana.
In 1946, he was nominated Embassy Secretary in the Argentine Foreign Service and served in many different embassies and consulates of Argentina. He was appointed Argentine Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States and served in that post until 1960. That year he was appointed Argentine Ambassador to Japan where he remained until he retired to private life in 1963. For the following ten years, Ambassador Orfila acted as a consultant in the field of international finances and economic affairs, based in Washington, D.C.
In November 1973, Ambassador Orfila was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Argentina to the United States and served in this capacity until July 1975. At that time, he was elected to his first term as Secretary General of the Organization of American States by its General Assembly and re-elected to a second five-year term in October 1979.
After his retirement from the Organization of American States, Ambassador Orfila re-entered the business world as a consultant and investor in the field of international finances and real estate. In August 1989, Ambassador Orfila and his wife, Helga Leifeld, moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, where he engaged in real estate and community activities and purchased Orfila Vineyards & Winery in April 1994.
Ambassador Orfila has been decorated by a number of European, Latin American and Asian governments and has received honorary degrees from universities in the United States and Latin America.