Chile is a paradise for Old World wine scientists, who arrive to the New World viticulture frontier seeking to explore both the technology and the art of winemaking.
A recent article published by Economia y Negocios profiles and quotes several European enologists who visited Chile and chose to stay and take advantage of opportunities for inspiration, adventure and freedom of expression in winemaking that are unavailable in Europe.
Enologists research and refine agricultural and winemaking techniques to understand wine production and to develop new methods and better products. Enology is also a creative and inventive process.
Legal restrictions and geographical limitations in Europe often stifle innovative possibilities in wine creation. For example, French appellations and grape strains are strictly regulated for transparent labeling and marketing of long-established wine varieties and terroirs.
Mauro von Siebenthal, owner of Viña Von Siebenthal, explains, “In Bordeaux [France], they tell you which strain to plant, how much for each hectare, how to make wine, there is not the creative liberty that exists here.”
Pascal Marty of Cousiño Macul iterates that “if you want to plant a vineyard in your garden [in France], you can’t.”
In contrast, Chilean laws do not restrict grape strains and winemaking practices, and agricultural boundaries are liberal. As a result, Chile is a favorite destination for enologists, entrepreneurs and wine lovers.
Chile additionally offers significant and appealing diversity in topography, climate and culture.
Michael Friou, enologist from Almaviva, refers to Chile’s ecological advantages and natural assets, stating that the climate and soil are “particularly favorable for the production of healthy and ripe grapes, giving birth to very good wines, simultaneously fresh and mature, and exceptionally in the best terroirs like Puente Alto and Apalta, where I had the luck of working.”
Friou also notes that Chile “is known for its marvelous geography, its people and its family values.” He decided to settle and continue working in Chile permanently after several stimulating visits.
Benoit Fitte of Viña Requingua affirms the warmth and attraction of Chile, recalling, “I was enamored with the country, the values, the love the Chileans have for families and friends, the good food, and of course, the climate.”
Chile offers avant-garde possibilities and unique opportunities for pioneering enologists, but the country’s unique agricultural and cultural characteristics convert wine science into art and empower wine scientists to develop as artists.