Chile: Concha y Toro shifts wine operations

06 October, 2009

Chilean wine company Concha y Toro is shifting the majority of its Casillero del Diablo white wine operations from Central Valley to the coastal regions of Casablanca and Limarí.

All Casillero del Diablo varieties affected will now carry the region on the bottle.
The company has already been growing grapes in the Casablanca region for 20 years and in the Limarí Valley for the past 5 years, but has taken the decision to grow all white varieties and cool climate reds in these regions. Winemaker Marcelo Papa said he wants consumers to know that Chile is diverse in geography and wine styles.
“We’re not like Argentina. When you take a Malbec from Mendoza, you know what to expect.
“We have been working to understand appellation in Chile.”
The company is growing Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Noir in Casablanca, Pinot Grigio in Limarí and Chardonnay in both Casablanca and Limarí. Papa describes the Casablanca version as having ‘tropical fruit characteristics with more oak’, whereas the Limarí version has ‘less oak and more mineral flavours’.  Chardonnay that was previously grown in the Central Valley has ‘more banana flavours and less acidity.’
He added: “We are not as well known for our white varieties. In the central area the quality is ok but it’s not exciting. Now we have the resources to go to the coast and make some exciting styles.”
The company has spent approximately $10 million on a new winery in Limarí and it also owns 800 hectares of vineyard in the region.
Papa said: “Not all of it is planted. We still have another 300-400 hectares to plant, which we hope to do in the next four to five years.
“We are now the largest land owner in Limarí.”
Casillero del Diablo sold 2.8 million cases in 2008 and UK is the largest export market. The company plans to tell consumers about the new regionality on the bottles through trade marketing and trade education.
Papa concluded: “The wine will not increase in price. We aim to be consistent with both price and quality.”