DBR Lafite keen for Chilean brand to ‘develop its own image’

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) has said it wants its Chilean estate, Viña Los Vascos, to continue to build its brand image based on its own merits and terroir and not just as a Lafite-owned winery.

Speaking to the drinks business, new international director of the company, Guillaume Deglise, said that while the link with Lafite was clearly “very strong”, at the same time “we believe that the image of Los Vascos is not exactly as it should be,” and it was time for the estate to “develop its own image, based on its terroir”.

Owned by DBR since 1998, Deglise said Los Vascos was a “real pioneer” when it came to Chile’s history of Cabernet-based fine wines – especially the ‘grand vin’ Le Dix.

On the other hand, the link with a brand name as prestigious as Lafite has perhaps left the achievements and inherent qualities of Los Vascos somewhat in the shade and particularly in relation to some of the other top names in Chilean fine wine which are increasingly carving out a name for themselves on the international stage.

“A lot of our distributors make the link with DBR,” Deglise said, “which is very significant but we should also promote Los Vascos for what it is, one of the very top producing wineries in Colchagua.”

Deglise said that the aim was to increasingly, “boost its image through its link with Chile” and all the environmental and geographical factors, such as its proximity to the ocean, that contribute to its character and why DBR wanted to invest there in the first place.

Deglise added that he was keen to see an increased focus on regionality in Chile more generally. He said it would “be an advantage to promote the regions of Chile not just the country, to show the diversity [there is there].” But, at the same time, he did not want to see Chile lose the “freedom” that currently exists, which allows winemakers to plant and develop varieties where they wish.

In that vein, he continued that DBR was going to be launching a refreshed version of its Grand Reserva range called ‘Cromas’, with new packaging that moves away from the rather traditional, Bordeaux-influenced labelling of Los Vascos.

The range will cover just Cabernet and Carmenere at launch but this would be expanded over time. And while Cabernet would “always be the backbone of Los Vascos”, Deglise hinted that this rather conservative approach might “change in future”.

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