Chilean business giant and winery owner dies28th March, 2013 by Gabriel Stone
Guillermo Luksic Craig, a leading Chilean businessman and owner of Viña Tabalí, died yesterday aged 57 after being diagnosed with lung cancer last year.
The youngest of two sons, Luksic’s mother died when he was three and his father Andrónico Luksic Abaroa remarried, building up a business empire that made his family the wealthiest in Chile.
Luksic joined the family business, Quiñenco Economic Group, in 1975, becoming chairman of the board in 1982. In addition to this role, Luksic was on the board of several other firms, including one of Chile’s largest wine producers, Viña San Pedro Tarapacá, and the country’s main bank, Banco de Chile.
Through his company Sociedad Agrícola y Ganadera Rio Negro Limitada, he also held a 99.9% stake in Viña Tabalí. Set up in 1993, this Limarí winery on the edge of the Atacama desert was very much a personal project for Luksic, whose son Nicolás is head of the board of directors.
A pioneer for high quality winemaking in this semi-desert area 400km north of Santiago, Luksic had recently invested a further US$550,000 to buy 11 hectares in Limarí’s mountainous Rio Hurtado region. Another project is due to see Tabalí launch its first sparkling wines in the next year.
Last year Tabalí enjoyed a 12% increase in sales to reach of 70,000 cases worth US$4.5 million, which is expected to reach $5m in 2013. The UK is the export-focused company’s largest market, representing 25% of total sales through agent Boutinot, which recently announced a management buy-out.