Wines of Chile USA (WOC) hosted its 2010 Grand Tasting events at the Chicago Illuminating Company on Tuesday, April 27 and at Dogpatch Studios in San Francisco on Thursday, April 29. The comprehensive tasting events showcased the country and its diverse wines in two sessions each; an afternoon show catered to members of the wine trade, and a second show in the evening was open to the general public. Over 400 guests attended in Chicago and over 500 in San Francisco, split nearly evenly between trade and consumers.
Attendees tasted some of the country’s finest wines from 50 of Chile’s top vineyards-stunning examples of the new heights the country is reaching in terroir, viticulture, and winemaking. Each guest received a tasting book with space for notes as well as importer and distributor information.
Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer conducted exclusive tastings of Chile’s emblematic Carmenere grape and provided an overview of Chile’s unique terrior and wines; the Chicago Carmenere tasting in the evening was also live-streamed online to consumers and members of press that could not attend.
A viticultural paradise, Chile boasts a near-perfect climate for exotic fruit, which guests had the chance to sample, courtesy of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. Specialties from the country like empanadas, churrasco-style bruschetta and cheese and tapas platters were provided by Puro Chile, which promotes Chilean products.
Consumers at the evening events enjoyed South American-inspired music mixed by DJ Twilite in Chicago and Michael Perry in San Francisco. One lucky winner in each city received “The Ultimate Chile Travel Kit,” which includes two round-trip tickets to Chile from LAN Airlines, exclusive Chilean products from Puro Chile, and select Chilean wines from WOC. An expert from Turismo Chile was also on site to answer questions about travel to Chile.
This year’s Grand Tasting hosted the exhibit “Shaken, but Not Broken,” by Chile-based British photographer Matt Wilson. In the two weeks following the earthquake of Feb 27, 2010, Matt traveled through Chile photographing the aftermath. “The photographs I made during this time were the most moving and difficult images I have ever made-but I saw a spirit, a human fortitude that will stay with me my entire life,” says Wilson. “My heart was cracked on Feb 27, 2010, but it was mended with the human spirit I witnessed afterwards.” Selected photographs were for sale at the exhibition.
All proceeds from the art sales as well as a portion of the proceeds of ticket sales went to the Levantando Chile Fund, which supports both immediate earthquake relief and long-term reconstruction efforts in Chile.
Watch a video overview of the event: