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Chilean wine greats nominated for Wine Intelligence awards

Over the last decade the Chilean wine sector has dramatically transformed into a major player on the world market. So it’s no surprise that when Wine Intelligence asked world experts to nominate the world’s top figures for commendation, four of the 30 nominees on the short-list hail from Chile.

Photo courtesy of Viña Errazuriz.

Photo courtesy of Viña Errazuriz.

To celebrate the wine research company’s 10th year in the business, Wine Intelligence is raising a glass to the world industry’s leaders whose personal work and achievements have changed the world wine market for the better over the last 10 years.

And it’s clear the panel of 10 judges tasked with drafting a short-list of nominees – dubbed the “Wine Intelligence 10 for 10 Business Awards” – has its eye on Chile.

Among the nominees are: Eduardo Chadwick, the owner and president of Viña Errazuriz; Miguel Torres, the president of Bodegas Miguel Torres; Eduardo Guilisasti, the Chief Executive Officer of Viña Concha y Toro; and our very own Michael Cox, European Director of Wines of Chile’s United Kingdom branch office.

Each nominee, with strong roots in both the Chilean and global wine industries, received the highest of praise from their peers.

Chadwick is credited with having “changed the perceptions of New World wine for the better, and especially for Chile,” according to the judging panel. By forming relationships with vineyards abroad and earning Viña Errazuriz a top spot in blind testings, beating out iconic European vintages, Chadwick has proven that New World wines, especially those based in Chile’s centuries-long tradition, more than hold their own against famed labels worldwide.

Judges also named Torres, perhaps best known for his work in branding one of Spain’s leading vineyards, as “one of the most widely respected wine business leaders of our time, and truly respected for his deep commitment to sustainable development.” A fifth-generation Spanish winemaker, Torres now leads Bodegas Miguel Torres, the vineyard’s ever-growing Chilean subsidy, where he continues to emphasize the importance of sustainability while promoting export growth.

Earning Meininger’s Wine Business International’s 2011 award for “Businessman of the year in the international wine industry” and a spot on Decanter Magazine’s 2011 “Power List,” the inclusion of Concha y Toro CEO Guilisasti is far from surprising. Judges say “he has driven the business during an astonishing period of growth, while maintaining a universally recognised and admired standard of quality.” Among the continent’s largest producers, the Chilean brand boasts an increasingly international portfolio that includes vineyards in California and Argentina. Their latest expansion, opening an office in South Africa, was announced in late February.

Though not Chilean by birth, Cox has earned the respect and admiration of his adopted nation alongside his European peers in promoting Chilean wine abroad.  “His role in developing Chilean wines as a force in multiple markets has been magnificent,” judges say, and local governments take note. The success of Chilean wines in the UK market is largely accredited to the efforts of Cox and his colleagues, and in 2010 President Sebastián Piñera named Cox a Commander of the Order of Merit of Chile – the highest honor possible given to a foreign citizen for their contributions to the nation.

The final 10 recipients of the “10 for 10 Business Awards” will be announced at 10 separate events, held around the globe stretching throughout 2012. As part of the festivities, Chile will host a drinks reception in August.

Photo courtesy of Viña Errazuriz.

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