2. Kingston Family Vineyards https://www.kingstonvineyards.com/

Kingston Family Vineyards https://www.kingstonvineyards.com/

Day 2 started at Kingston Family Vineyards and being met by Douglas Guyett. I was greeted with an early glass of their 2016 rosé which is a direct pressing of Syrah; a great way to start your day! Kingston’s total of 3,250 hectares can be found at the cooler west end of Casablanca Valley 40km from the Pacific and the farm was established in 1906, mainly with 1000 dairy cattle and remains a family affair. Soils are mixed, from clay topsoil to decomposing granite on granite and more than 175 hectares of Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay were planted in 1998 on a gently rolling landscape. Cabernet Sauvignon would not ripen so was either pulled up or top grafted, as was Riesling which suffered from too much botrytis. A range of clones are used. Kingston began as grape producers whose production is sought after, and in fact only use 12-15% of their grapes themselves to produce about 4,000 cases (tiny production). Tourism is important to their cash flow and cellar door sales help a lot. The winery was built in 2006, gravity fed over three levels, and is currently at 4-5,000 cases of its 9,000 case capacity, which they hope to reach over the next few years.

 

Harvest was early this year, February (Southern hemisphere!) whereas usually they don’t finish until May!!! Syrah was harvested in the second week of March, which is apparently completely unheard of! Kingston’s own grapes are hand harvested and the remainder mainly by machine but apparently this damages the vines. Grapes are selected three times, some are de-stemmed and some reds undergo whole cluster fermentation.

A range of fermentation vessels is used, from stainless steel (including barrel sized stainless vats), and plastic to concrete eggs, French oak barrels and a brand new 2000 litre Austrian foudre, all depending on the wine. The whites are all fermented in barrels or concrete; no stainless steel and with battonage. The reds undergo cold maceration for up to a week.

The wines are very attractive but don’t yet define the place, and the winemaking is being changed subtly to produce wines of more complexity with less powerfully dominant fruit, more spiciness, herbal and floral aromas and a generally fresher, crisper style; a move away from what is still quite a typically American taste; big and bold and wanting food! All the wines are named after well-loved family horses!

Tasting

Syrah Rosé 2016; lovely, pale pink colour, dangerously easy to drink, herbal and red fruits, medium plus body, soft, smooth and integrated.

Cariblanco Sauvignon Blanc 2016, 14%: clear and bright pale lemon colour, intense nose of nettles, gooseberries and passion fruit, mouth-watering acidity, full bodied, hugely fruit driven with medium plus length. Nice! About 18 USD.

Sabino Chardonnay 2015, 12.5%: full malolactic fermentation, and 30% new oak, lees stirring result in a lovely savoury nose, hazelnuts, nutty and grapefruit with a similar palate, good acidity and full body. Another very nice wine! About 30 USD

Tobiano Pinot Noir 2015, 13.5%: pale ruby colour with a very fruit driven nose, strawberries and vanilla spice, good acidity and balanced palate, juicy acidity and fine, round tannins. A slightly smoky hint with a touch of tar accompanies the red berry fruits and cinnamon spice from 10-12 months in new and used oak. About 22 USD.

Bayo Oscuro Syrah 2014, 14%: this wine showed much more complexity (moving up to about 40 USD). Beautiful nose of black berry and stone fruits, blackberries, black cherries, damsons with black olives, vanilla and sweet spices. The palate showed concentrated black fruits with black pepper, savoury meaty and smoky hints. 13 months in 35% new oak barrels. Really lovely!

Thank you again Douglas and Kingston for a great visit!

Please can you guys give them a visit too!

1. Casa Marín https://www.casamarin.cl/home-eng

  1. Casa Marín https://www.casamarin.cl/home-eng

My first visit, late in the afternoon, was to Casa Marín, in the village and sub-valley of Lo Abarca in San Antonio Valley, only 4km from the cold Pacific Ocean, its location being key to wine styles here. It was a challenge finding the village as the route we took was very poorly, basically not, signposted!

Marilu Marín was the first female Chilean oenologist and it was her dream to have a winery in her home village of Lo Abarca, but she was told it was too cold. Few wineries are run and owned by the same person. Her early career was as a very successful bulk wine broker and here she earned her money to start Casa Marín alone, since she could secure no other investment partners. Established in 2000, the first vintage was in 2003 and she had planted Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer and Garnacha. At that time, Chilean wines were not well recognised and in the UK the best wines were selling for only 10GBP; she wanted to achieve top prices like Cloudy Bay and Dog Point, at that time about 16GBP. There was huge recognition for her first vintage and it got the 16GBP price point which Marilu had wanted. The UK is their second market today, after Denmark, and ahead of Brazil and only 15.000 cases are made. Commercially, expansion is difficult, not only on a small budget but also whilst maintaining the quality of the flag-ship wines, and so it is being achieved through the introduction of a range of second wines called Cartagena. These are entry level wines and have been produced since 2009, becoming an important brand. Volumes of Casa Marin are limited, only 500 cases, and despite the ageing potential of the wines, the market wants the current vintage; Cipreses Vineyard, the iconic Sauvignon Blanc was out of stock at the time of my visit (approx. 20GBP). Cellar door sales form an important part of the cash flow for the winery and in Chile the wines can now be bought online from Vinoswine. Several UK wine shop sell them including BBR, Hedonism but being boutique, low volume, you won’t find them in the supermarket! Nor is a full range available! The doors are closed in the USA as volumes are so very small; their loss!

Jamie Verbraak, Commercial Manager, met us and took us straight up into the vineyards in the inevitable, hard-working 4×4 which every Chilean vineyard owner needs on this mountainous terrain. This is cool climate grape growing here, 27ºC being the highest temperature they’ve ever recorded while it was 33ºC inland in Casablanca, and this dictates the varieties which can be ripened. The breeze off the Pacific is cold, nights are chilly even in summer and 90% of the vines are planted on hillsides up to 120m above sea level. There are numerous microclimates depending on the elevation and aspect (north, south, east and west exposures) and protection from the ocean breeze, and the 40 hectares is divided into over 60 different parcels or blocks. In addition, there is a variety of soil types, from loamy sandy soils at higher levels and limestone and granite lower down the hillsides.

Syrah needs warmer climate and is planted where it receives more sun and further up the slopes to avoid frost hollows. Frost is a significant problem here, as are birds and many vines are netted.  Sauvignon Blanc, Garnacha, and Pinot Noir are planted on grafted rootstocks on pure chalk. It was interesting to see the difference in leaf colour and ripeness of the grapes from the bottom, mid and top of slopes. On the change to granite soils Riesling is planted with the inclination and exposure of individual sites being used to advantage. Margarodes, tiny insects which eat the roots and eventually kill the vine, are a problem here and although there is no treatment or cure for them, the vines are strengthened by good nutrition to make them more resistant to attack. As commented in my WSET report, I can’t help but see the parallels here with Phylloxera. Gewürztraminer production levels have suffered due to frost as had the Pinot Noir. Harvesting is done on a differential basis, each block being picked only when it is ripe and not before.

In the winery, vinification is in separate small tanks to enable complexity in the blending with minimal SO2. A range of stainless steel tanks and barrels of varying age are used.

Luckily for me and a group of MW students, Marilu not only joined us for our tasting but guided it too! Felipe too! The wines tasted were the Casa Marin range and they were all of outstanding quality.

Tasting

Riesling 2016, 13%: youthful, floral, zesty lime with peachy stone fruit. Mouth-watering acidity, medium plus body, medium plus alcohol and long finish.

Sauvignon Gris 2016, 14.5%: this was extraordinary! Complex nose resulting from varied winemaking techniques, some stainless, steel some barrel fermentation, and some skin contact. Elderflower and nettles on the nose with a full bodied palate, mouth-watering acidity, roundness from the oak, well-structured and very long. Delicious!

Gewürztraminer 2016, 14%: this was very closed to begin with, for me initially very difficult to taste, but soon opened up to typical Gewürztraminer lychees and roses, full bodied and plump. Lovely!

Pinot Noir 2011, 13.5%: pale ruby in colour, very clean and crisp, red berry fruits, strawberries and cherry, complexity from 12 months in French oak and natural yeasts. Ripe fruits hint at sweetness on a dry palate, juicy and long, gentle spices fine grained integrated tannins. Really lovely wine.

Syrah 2010, 12%: the low alcohol is not typical of Syrah, but it struggles to ripen here meaning low sugar levels. Slightly reduced nose opens beautifully to black and red berry fruits with cinnamon spice, tar and smoke. Very mineral, juicy acidity, fine grained tannins, integrated and balanced. Beautiful cool expression Syrah!

A huge thank you again to Marilu, Philipe and Jamie at Casa Marin for sharing your passion with me!

Please give them a visit! And buy some wine!

Introduction to the 23 individual Chilean winery reviews for my WSET Wine Trade Club Paten Scholarship trip 6-20th April 2017

20170407_124430It was with absolute delight and amazement that I discovered that having achieved high grades in my WSET Level 4 Diploma I was to be awarded with The Wine Trade Club Paten Scholarship! Being presented with the scholarship prize at graduation on 23rd January 2017 in the London Guildhall by Jancis Robinson and Gerard Basset was the icing on a very large cake! Anyone who has completed the WSET Level 4 Diploma will vouch for the extraordinary effort required! I used the travel grant to go to Chile, a country which I had long wanted to visit and which fascinates me even more since my stay. It is worth reading my WSET report before these visit summaries. These notes have taken a long time to write up, not only because of other commitments, but because I hadn’t appreciated just how long it would take when I promised to do so! They don’t pretend to be exhaustive, but hopefully will prick people’s interest to check out the websites, the wines and to visit the wineries if possible.

I arrived in Santiago de Chile just before 8am on Friday 7th April 2017 after a 13 hour direct night flight from my home in Madrid. My first time on such a long haul flight (LATAM excellent; but Iberia for the return flight far from), first time over the equator, first time in South America, first time over the Andes and of course my first time in Chile. And it was raining!

I had been put in touch with Max Morales of Andes Wines and after initial contact I then contracted him to organise my visits and be my expert guide and driver for the 13 day trip. But despite regular contact before the trip and going through the trials of organising and juggling the long list of wineries that I wanted to visit, I couldn’t help feeling anxious as I left arrivals; would anyone be there to meet me? It seemed to take an age to get through customs, visa control and luggage collection, and to my great relief, Max was there as promised! We collected the hire car which would eventually take us those 3,306km and my adventure began. First to find my Airbnb in central Santiago, dump my case and begin what became on Twitter #Chilewineexploration. I wrote about my escapades in some detail every day on Facebook during the trip (WIFI connection permitting!) and although this isn’t my original wish list as some wineries were unavailable for various reasons, Max pulled off some great improvisation to fill the gaps!

The first week was frenetic and, frankly, exhausting! I actually came home three kilos lighter partly from the pace of the first week and partly because of my restricted diet, to which Chile was not always friendly! What I wanted to achieve was to try to remove some common misconceptions about Chilean wine, since many people still think of Chile as a provider of inexpensive, bulk, supermarket wine, and that’s simply not the case.

I constantly lost track of where the sun was and should be (in the southern hemisphere travelling south it was behind me, and warmer exposures are north facing, all contrary to what I am used to in the northern hemisphere!).

And of course, early April was still harvest time for many wineries, which made several visits all the more interesting; there’s not much to actually see happening in a winery outside harvest!

Thanks again to all of those who were involved in my trip; I was received with the warmest and most generous hospitality wherever we went. It was curious to note that many Chileans were surprised that I had chosen Chile for my scholarship trip! While they are very proud of what they are doing, perhaps they don’t yet have the confidence to believe that they can get out there on the world stage! And of course to Max; spending almost two weeks together could have turned out badly, but thankfully we got on very well!

These are personal notes and reviews which I hope shed some light on a blossoming wine industry and some incredible people! They do not pretend to be exhaustive in any way and any errors must be mine. They are in chronological order, and websites are provided for all wineries. I haven’t put sources for the wines (country dependent) but Internet searches yield sellers where possible. I usually start with Wine Searcher although I have only the basic version.

Wineries and groups visited over 3,306km and 13 days!

  1. Casa Marin, San Antonio
  2. Kingston Family Vineyards, Casablanca
  3. Villard Fine Wines, Casablanca
  4. Bodegas Re, Casablanca
  5. Matetic, San Antonio
  6. Casas del Bosque, Casablanca
  7. Concha y Toro, Maipo
  8. Viña Leyda, San Antonio
  9. Almaviva, Maipo
  10. Santa Rita, Maipo
  11. Viña VIK, Millahue, Cachapoal
  12. Lapostolle Clos Apalta, Cachapoal
  13. Clos Santa Ana, Colchagua
  14. Villalobos, Colchagua
  15. Miguel Torres, Curicó
  16. Gillmore (Vigno), Maule
  17. Reserva de Caliboro, Maule
  18. Cauquenes Vid Seca, Coronel de Maule, Maule
  19. Viña Sanroke, San Rosendo, Bío-Bío
  20. Tierra Firme, Vinos de Patio, Trifulca Itata
  21. Casa Bouchon, Maule
  22. Errazuriz, Aconcagua
  23. Santa Carolina (home tasting in Santiago)

WSET Level 4 Diploma Wine Trade Club Paten Scholarship Report; Chile Wine Exploration 6-20th April 2017

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I was asked to write a report after my scholarship trip, and this is what I submitted. Individual reports will follow very soon!

Introduction

Chile has fascinated me since the moment I began learning about her geography and her wines, so deciding on my travel destination when I learned that I had won the Wine Trade Club Paten Scholarship for my WSET Diploma results wasn’t a difficult choice. My original thought was to focus on the matching of varieties to climate (particularly cool) and soils, but once there I began to realise that these thoughts weren’t enough to convey what I was experiencing. I have struggled to decide on a focus for my report as a consequence!

Reading about a region or country is one thing, but actually seeing it first hand, for me personally, makes things click in to place. I thought I knew that Chile was dominated by two mountain ranges, transverse valleys from the Andes in the east to the Pacific in the west and a warm central valley. However, driving 3,500 km up, down and around them and taking in over 500km of Chile’s 4000km length from just north of Santiago (33.4ºS) to  slightly south of Concepción (36.8ºS)  in two weeks was a real eye-opener. Seeing those cooling morning mists and fogs form and dissipate, feeling the chill of the breeze sweep up the valleys from the cold Pacific Ocean and its Humboldt Current, or tumble down from the cool heights of the Andes in the evening really put my learning into perspective and underlined the huge complexity that exists in Chile’s overriding mountainous geology and climates. My visit took place just as autumn was taking hold and harvest generally finished.

I’d like to talk about three different points, while recognising that I may not do justice to any of them in so few words, but these interest me greatly and I hope make worthy reading.

  1. A sort of overview

Although Chile has been making wine in one form or another since the Spanish arrived in 1541, and many of the larger wineries like Concha y Toro, Santa Rita, Santa Carolina or Miguel Torres were well established long before 1980, much of the modern Chilean winemaking industry really dates back less than 20 years. In addition to businesses making large volumes of economically priced, basic wines from grapes grown in the warmth of the Central Valley, many pioneers have been busy matching varieties to site climate and soils. This has been particularly true for cool climate regions, often but not exclusively coastal sites in Casablanca and San Antonio with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Syrah but also with Cabernet Sauvignon in Maule and very recently the new southerly regions with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc particularly. Not having the centuries of expertise of many European wine regions in many cases, Chilean winemakers and viticulturists have learned quickly from early mistakes, such as planting varieties where they would not ripen, as with Cabernet Sauvignon, and have been either replanting or top grafting to more appropriate varieties or clones. There is also widespread use of multiple clones and rootstocks, mass selection of proven clones or vineyards, and the application of differential harvesting in a vineyard.

Wineries such as Casa Marín and Leyda (whose wines stunned me) have vineyards 12 and 8 km from the Pacific and are still juggling appropriate clones for their extremely cool climate zone. Matetic at 18km from the Pacific has chosen a biodynamic route in this cool climate region of San Antonio and Casablanca DO. Almaviva, established only in 1997, but with vineyards having been planted in 1978, are at pains to emphasise the soil structure and cool climate in this part of Maipo close to the Andes. Viña Vik, in Millahue, Cachapoal, established only ten years ago as Alexander Vik’s sustainable wine-dream-come-reality, continue to fine tune Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc clones to individual plots depending on a diverse range of soils and exposures, as does Villard Fine wines close to the Casablanca coast. Reserva de Caliboro, in Maule and established 1995-7, work with heritage varieties as well as international, have an organic approach and are becoming known for their genetic bank of old vines.

There is a general move towards the production of fine wines from grapes grown at higher altitudes in many regions, often up into the Andes foothills, closer to the Pacific Coast (Errazuriz now have coastal vineyards), or searching much further south, Itata, Bío-Bío and Patagonia bound, while the higher volume, economic wines continue to be sourced from the fertile valley floors.

Furthermore, there is also a tendency to the reduced use of new oak barrels, more use of larger format oak such as foudres, and increasingly widespread use of concrete eggs, tinajas and amphorae. This is taken to an extreme at Bodegas Re, brainchild of Pablo Morandé Sr, and where his imagination now runs riot, the new winery construction being completed around the eight huge 12,000 litre pot-bellied cement-with-clay-cover fermentation vats. Not a dash of stainless steel to be seen, everything clay, cement or very old wood in an extraordinary range of sizes and accordingly wine styles. (I also saw tiny humming birds here; an addition to the privilege!)

New wineries are designed by architects and usually involve extraordinarily detailed planning to reduce energy use, as at Errazuriz (2010) or Lapostolle’s Clos Apalta (2005). Old bodegas such as Clos Santa Ana in Colchagua are recuperating old varieties and sustainable, organic, traditions as well as rebuilding at great expense the old “casona”, a traditional house constructed around central courtyards, the first attempt being demolished by the 2010 earthquake and only now beginning to take form again and planned as a rural hotel.

The rules for Denomination de Origen are nascent, and basically define little more than geographical origin (regions are large so this doesn’t say much and notwithstanding the 2013 addition of the “Costa, Entre Cordilleras and Andes” sub designations) and a minimum of 75% of the variety or vintage is stated, although exporters work to the 85% European standard. With no process, vinification, viticultural or varietal specifications or requirements, complete flexibility is fomented over a diversity of regions. However, this lack of restriction can prove to be a downside where wines are required to compete against traditional regions on the fine or premium wine market that is the global playing field. One group, however, has been established in an attempt to form the basis for a DO, the VIGNO movement, signed on 11-10-2011. The requirements for any winery wishing to belong, and there are only 14, are strict and include requirement for 65% Carignan or Carignan grafted onto País, over 30 years old, dry farmed, bush trained, from a defined geographical region around Cauquenes and Melozal in southern Maule on granitic coastal soils and including the Gillmore winery. The remaining 35% of the grapes are determined by each winery but must be from the same defined region and criteria. Two years bottle ageing is required prior to release for sale. The VIGNO logo must be dominant on the label, which some potential members have found troublesome. The Gillmore winery was instrumental in this initiative and organised a tasting for me of all 14 wines.

Climate change is affecting Chile and the influence of El Niño is a potential problem, causing less stable weather, and torrential downpours can lead to localised flooding (130mm fell over one night in April causing grapes literally to burst). Harvest dates are earlier every year. Moreover, there is less rainfall in general, less snowfall on the Andes leading to less melt water and consequently a serious water shortage, compounded by the mines extracting water upriver and leading to many almost dry riverbeds by April each year. Forest fires have been devastating this year, propagated by thirsty pine and eucalypt forests planted under government schemes.

Villalobos (Carignan) and J. Bouchon have wild vines growing up trees wines creating a real point of difference and unique selling point, Bouchon making País Salvaje red and white wild wines. Others with old and wild vines are realising the potential that these vines have.

  1. Cultural heritage varieties and traditional farming

There has been much talk recently about the “rediscovery” of heritage varieties, centenary vineyards and truly pre-phylloxera vines in old traditional family vineyards. The correct identification in the 1990s of Carmenère as opposed to Merlot was perhaps a taste of things to come. Now many hectares of País, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc have been identified and are arousing great interest on several counts.

Firstly, two particular initiatives have been instigated this harvest, 2017. The first one in Coronel de Maule, Cauquenes, which is in south western Maule, the “Vid Seca” local union-cooperative movement (gremio) where INIA (Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias) part of Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture, the agriculture and livestock farming department, has collaborated with local grape growers by providing expert technical advice in the form of an experienced winemaker. In a move to protect and showcase dry farmed vineyards in Cauquenes, visits are made to small family winemakers who have no technical training and have inherited both vines and practices from their grandparents. Several varieties are included but the majority are País, Carignan and Torontel. Modern advice and basic equipment as well as bottling are offered by INIA to enable the production of, albeit small quantities of, good, basic quality wine in place of the previous “pipeño”, a traditional style of sweet red wine which is locally accepted but not saleable on a wider scale. I was invited to taste wines from the 2015/6 vintages of 20 producers before the intervention of the winemaker and would have loved the opportunity to be able to track the evolution of the wines following their “improvement” for a wider audience. Such has been their success that this week 13,800 bottles were put in a container, destination China! País has high tannins which need to be managed but is also capable of producing a fruity wine with the appeal of being drinkable young. Torres even makes a País sparkling wine, Estelado.

Secondly there is a clear market for grapes from these dry farmed, centenary, family owned vineyards, which are often País, but also Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec of over 150 years old, to premium producers, both small and large. Traditionally this was via middlemen who took a serious cut of the money and which actually meant that the growers were not receiving sufficient money to subsist, never mind thrive. From this 2017 harvest, the implementation of a price protection system has been successful, in the form of minimums guaranteed via “centros de acopio” (collection centres) and managed by the cooperative and INDAP (Instituto de Desarrollo Agropecuario; the government body for agricultural development). Transparency is achieved by posting grape prices outside the collection centre. In Quillón, Itata, prices for grapes last year were 40-50 CLP/kg, but this year the minimum was 140 CLP/kg (100 CLP = 12 pence, 0.12 GBP; shockingly low prices). Buyers, including big names like Torres, do not actually pay any more for their grapes, but what they do pay goes directly to the growers. This means that whilst their production is not hugely profitable, these small, traditional, family vineyards, which are all well over 50 years old, many centenary, and all dry farmed, are saved, and not lost through abandonment or being pulled up and replanted with subsidised pine or eucalyptus trees. Consequently, the families, many having less than one hectare, two to three at most, and who consider the vines as part of their day-to-day traditions and heritage and not just a commercial venture, are now able to earn a dignified living from their vines. This in turn prevents the loss of previously unsustainable livelihoods, as younger generations see that they are able to continue the tradition, in turn preserving a rural way of life which would otherwise eventually be lost. The project provides technical viticultural and enological advice and support in vineyards and wineries. The risk of 3000 growers basically disappearing has been alleviated and as the initiative begins to demonstrate to other small growers that it works, it is likely to extend. The production of grapes in Itata has dropped steadily over recent years due to this abandoning of vineyards and, as a result, there is now more demand for these old vine grapes which are very low yielding, concentrated and capable of producing saleable wine at the least and have potential for greatness when treated with tender loving care. Many of these “at risk” vineyards are very old vine Moscatel and País.

Thirdly, the production of these wines offers a point of differentiation and can create value as a unique selling point as well as being a tremendous source of genetic material, since the majority of the vines are very old, ungrafted and predate the phylloxera crisis. Torres has just bought “La Causa” in Itata, who concentrate on old heritage varieties like País, in order to be able to compete better in international markets. In San Rosendo, Viña Sanroke’s Centenary Malbec and País along with Trifulca’s Cinsaut, both in Bío-Bío are examples of successful commercialisation of old vine wines. Chile needs to try to stem the growth of sales in the economic wine category (wines well under 5GBP retail) and compete with old world Premium wines. It needs a change of image which old varieties may be able to give.

  1. Margarodes

I could not close without mentioning these. Several wineries talked openly about their problems with Margarodes but many others did not want to. Margarodes could mean big trouble. They are tiny ground pearls, insects native to Chile with a multi stage life cycle, and which live and feed mainly on smaller vine roots as well as on local, indigenous plant species. The damage they cause allows subsequent fungal infection of the roots resulting in the vines failing to thrive, eventually demonstrating chlorosis and followed by death of the vine. The small size of the insects means that their spread can be slow, but this can also be by anthropogenic means; by humans on tools, machinery and footwear. Flood irrigation can help but is impractical, adequate nutrition can strengthen the vines, but there is basically no known cure. The nature of its lifecycle and its pearly capsule, as well as the depth at which it lives, lend it resistance to insecticides. I can’t but help see parallels with phylloxera here, and of which Chile remains so far free. Margarodes are also found and studied in South Africa and South Australia.

These are just some of my experiences from Chile, and for which I would like to wholeheartedly thank the WSET Wine Trade Club for awarding me the Paten Scholarship for my Diploma results, and without which my trip would not have been possible! It is safe to say I hope to return soon!

Wineries or groups visited over 3,306km and 13 days

  1. Casa Marin, San Antonio
  2. Kingston Family Vineyards, Casablanca
  3. Villard Fine Wines, Casablanca
  4. Bodegas Re, Casablanca
  5. Matetic, San Antonio
  6. Casas del Bosque, Casablanca
  7. Concha y Toro, Maipo
  8. Viña Leyda, San Antonio
  9. Almaviva, Maipo
  10. Santa Rita, Maipo
  11. Viña VIK, Millahue, Cachapoal
  12. Lapostolle Clos Apalta, Cachapoal
  13. Clos Santa Ana, Colchagua
  14. Villalobos, Colchagua
  15. Miguel Torres, Curicó
  16. Gillmore (Vigno), Maule
  17. Reserva de Caliboro, Maule
  18. Cauquenes Vid Seca, Coronel de Maule, Maule
  19. Viña Sanroke, San Rosendo, Bío-Bío
  20. Tierra Firme, Vinos de Patio, Trifulca
  21. Casa Bouchon, Maule
  22. Errazuriz, Aconcagua
  23. Santa Carolina (home tasting in Santiago)

Detailed, individual reports on all 23 visits to come shortly!

It has to start somewhere…

This has been a long time coming, somewhere to register some of my wine related activities. Trips, tastings, competitions and bottles which in some way make a mark, whether because of their name, their price or value for money or because they surprised me. Let’s see what happens and how it pans out.

So the start is brief, my WSET Diploma Graduation on 23rd January 2017 and delight at winning the Wine Trade Club Paten Scholarship, presented to me by Jancis Robinson and Gerard Basset. Proud moment is an understatement! More than two years of hard labour as any Diploma student will confirm, and now hoping to be able to open doors with it and my experience.

So, a couple of photos and I’m away, this is just a beginning! Watch this space!Graduation_WSET_23_01_2017_IMG_1354