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Chilean wine: World's finest yet prices are reasonable

Time:2019-10-31 23:13wine - Red wine life health Click:

don maximiano sena Chilean Wine Eduardo Chadwick Vinedo Chadwick

Eduardo Chadwick speaks about Chadwick wine at the interview with the Korea Times, Tuesday. Courtesy of Wine Review

Eduardo Chadwick speaks about Chadwick wine at the interview with the Korea Times, Tuesday. Courtesy of Wine Review  

Winemaker campaigns for quality Chilean wine

By Jung Hae-myoung

What is harder to fight than a stereotype? Eduardo Chadwick, the founder of Chadwick winery and president and owner of Chilean wine brand Vina Errazuriz, sat down for an interview with The Korea Times at Grand Hyatt Hotel. He was referring to his daunting journey to change the undeserved perceptions about Chilean wine ― that is, that it's cheap. That's all.

Until the early 2000s when he changed that perceptions with his think-outside-the-box mindset, he said few people talked about its quality.

For years, Chadwick has been searching for ways to promote Chilean wine as one of the world's finest. To that end, he tried all the traditional methods, such as wine tasting, seminars, organizing food pairings, dinners and other winery promotions to help consumers discover the true value of Chilean wine.

He said his years of effort had not borne fruit until recently. Wine critics had turned a deaf ear on his Chilean wine campaigning.

"You can see that there is no record of 1999 and 2000 vintage Chilean wine because the critics did not even consider us," Chadwick said.

He is the fifth-generation president of family-owned Vina Errazuriz, which was founded in 1870.

In his despair, he found the energy to promote his wine to success. Vina Errazuriz wine was rated with a score of 100 at the Berlin Wine Tasting in 2004.

Inspired by California Wine Tasting, he organized the Berlin Wine Tasting. The blind tasting event was organized to give a fair chance to all the wines, including Chilean. Thirty-six European experts who were highly regarded met in Berlin for the event.

To everyone's surprise, two of his labels, Vinedo Chadwick and Sena, came in first and second place and Don Maximiano came in fifth.

The Berlin Wine Tasting was a successful experiment, encouraging critics and wine sommeliers to change their perceptions about Chilean wine. It is quality wine with a reasonable price.

"We hosted the tastings for 10 years around the world and in such a way we convinced the public and wine lovers to believe Chile is home to quality wine. We were motivated to teach them Chilean wines are the great wines in the world," he said.

Eduardo Chadwick speaks about Chadwick wine at the interview with the Korea Times, Tuesday. Courtesy of Wine Review

2017 vintage of Sena is poured into the wine glass at the Master Class held at Grand Hyatt hotel, Seoul./ Courtesy of Wine Review  

Chadwick visited Korea in 2013 to introduce his wine. This time he returned to Korea to introduce the iconic 2017 vintage wines.

"I think Chile is known in Korea as a leading country in the wine industry, but I think this is also the time to share and show the best of Chile," he said.

He focused on introducing three wines, Don Maximiano, Sena and Vinedo Chadwick. Each of the wines is from a different territory ― considering the set of environmental factors that affect the crop's phenotype.

Don Maximiano was named after one of the forefathers of the Chadwick family who was quoted as saying that the best wine comes from the best environment. Following his words, Chadwick traveled all across Chile to find the best environment to grow grapes. After finding the place, Chadwick used his forefather for the label to represent the heritage and tradition of the wine.

Sena is the wine Chadwick worked on with Robert Mondavi, a prominent U.S. wine producer who first promoted Californian wine to the world.

When Mondavi came to Chile in 1991, Chadwick met him and spent a week showing him around central Chile. They found kindred spirits in each other.

They visited many wineries in the Aconcagua, Maipo and Cochagua valleys which became the key regions where Chadwick produces its vintage wine. By the time they were done, they were both convinced that Chile had all the potential that California had shown two decades earlier. Also they firmly believed that together they could make outstanding wine that could prove Chile's world-class potential.

"He (Mondavi) had in mind of creating one wine that could gain recognition from Chile. He wanted to create a wine in Chile to have similar recognition with other world-class wine from Napa," Chadwick said.

In 1995, Chadwick joined Mondavi in Napa Valley to sign the first international joint venture in the history of Chilean wine.

Eduardo Chadwick speaks about Chadwick wine at the interview with the Korea Times, Tuesday. Courtesy of Wine Review

2017 vintage of Sena wine from Vina Errazuriz  

Chadwick succeeded his father and forefathers' wine business. He joined Vina Errazuriz in 1983 after graduating from the Catholic University of Chile.

After, he entered Bordeaux Institute of Oenology in France where he met Emile Pernot, who is deemed as the father of winemaking.

Traveling across the world, finding the right environment for wineries and learning winemaking techniques, he came back home to Chile where he experimented with different batches.

One of the techniques he introduced was "Biodynamic Preparation" in 2005, to search for the truest possible expression of its terroir. The technique allows the tree to strengthen its roots and enables for the tree to absorb minerals most effectively.

"I think the key element is to really identify the best terroir, because fine wine is made on the key element of soil and climate. It makes the specificity of wine," he said. He then explained the winemaking is the process of going back to the roots, the basic and simplest form, which makes the simplest yet the most difficult way to farm.

"You don't use any fertilizers and there is no chemical part in the process. You just treat your vineyard in the most sustainable possible way, using all the elements that are the fertilizers coming from the vineyard," he said. "So biodynamic farming, plus a very minimalistic approach, to winemaking is very healthy and sustainable."

He emphasized sustainability is crucial in winemaking in order to pass on the project to the next generation.

"I think one of the key elements is to be able to produce a great agricultural product in a way that it is sustainable for the next generation. There is no point producing the wine if you are using chemicals and fertilizers," he said. "For fine wine, you have to be respectful of nature."


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