Pioneering Chilean producer Aurelio Montes believes the country can now compete on the world stage with the best fine wines from France.
Man of a mission: Aurelio Montes
Speaking to The Drinks Business in the September issue of the magazine, the recently appointed international vice-president of Wines of Chile said:
“Chile has immense possibilities to move forward and develop its international. reputation.
“We have the diversity to do so, and have proved our mettle in the fine wine market – Chile produces amazing wines that can compete on the world stage with the best wines from France. We’ve got a long way to go, but the seeds have been sewn.”
Remarking on Tim Atkin MW’s famous description a decade ago of Chilean wine as being like a Volvo: reliable but a bit boring, Montes believes the country has since upgraded to an Audi.
Montes’ feng shui-optimised winery in Apalta
“If I had to compare Chilean wine to a car then I’d say it was an Audi, because it’s modern, innovative, fast, sporty and can still be very classic,” he told db.
Describing his recent appointment at Wines of Chile as “causing an earthquake”, Montes is keen to shake things up in his new role.
To assist him in his decision making, he’s created a special committee formed of five of the most influential figures in the Chilean wine industry: Eduardo Chadwick of Errázuriz; Isabel Guilisasti of Concha y Toro; Agustin Huneeus of Veramonte; Marcelo Retamal of Viña de Martino; and terroir expert Pedro Parra.
He also plans to move the annual Wines of Chile Awards outside Chile.
“I want to create a buzz around the awards. At the moment, they’re too self-referential,” Montes told db.
The Montes barrel room where Gregorian chants are played to the wines
“My dream is to have them in a different major city each year, starting with São Paulo in Brazil and then moving on to wine hubs like London and Hong Kong,” he added.
Keen to remain at the forefront of change, Montes hopes to bring pioneering independent vintners movement MOVI and Carignan collective VIGNO into the Wines of Chile fold in order to collectively promote some of the country’s most interesting wine offerings.
He even plans to take journalists on a “weird wine tour” aboard his private plane, flying them over Chile’s more extreme regions and stopping to taste curiosities such as Chilean Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Gris.
“We need to get people fired up about Chile. This country has so much to offer in terms of terroir and exciting wines, I want people to taste them under an explosion of stars in the Atacama Desert – then we’ll get people talking,” he said.
The full interview appears in the September issue of The Drinks Business, out now.