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Chilean producers unite in splinter organisations for the south

Two new associations have been formed in southern Chile to represent regional artisanal producers and natural wines.

Roberto Henriquez in the vineyard. Picture credit: Sur Chileno

Sur Natural was founded by half a dozen small, artisanal producers in southern Chile in a bid to show the ‘real side’ to Chile’s growing natural wine scene; while Sur Chileno was founded by eight regional producers focused on artisanal wines with ‘an identity of the south’. They have both been supported by funds from Corfo, Chile’s national development fund, and representing a growing movement of regional Chilean producer associations.

Within Sur Natural are six wine producers so far — all focused on natural wines from old vines in Itata and Bio Bio. “There has been an exponential growth of natural wines in Chile,” says founding member of the association, Juan Ignacio Acuña who has been making natural wines under his Viña Zaranda label since 2011. “Although there is a still a lack of definition as to what a natural wine is in Chile. This is part of the reason behind starting the association — to give a structure to the real side of natural wine production, from the way the vineyard is managed through to low intervention in winemaking.”

The founding members of the association are six small-scale producers: Viña Zaranda, Tinto de Rulo, Gustavo Riffo, Viña de Neira, Viña Doña Luisa and Viña San Lorenzo. The association is set to launch the website later this quarter with members heading for their first official visit as an association to RAW Wine Fair in New York in November.

Left to right: Enzo Pandolfi, Roberto Henriquez, Jean Paul Massoc. Picture credit: Sur Chileno

Meanwhile Sur Chileno was established with eight founding wineries, that stretch from Maule to Malleco, with a focus on promoting the identity of the south. “Our fundamental philosophies are being respectful of the identity of wines from southern Chile,” says one of the founding producers Enzo Pandolfi, “focusing on environmental, social and economic sustainability; cooperation and unity between producers; and offering wines of great quality from southern Chile.”

Enzo’s winery, Pandolfi Price in Itata, joins Massoc Frères, Roberto Henríquez, Clos des Fous, Riveras del Chillán, Lomas de Llahuén, Berta and Tinto de Rulo (which is in both associations). Sur Chileno is also planning international launch initiatives for later this year, and has already launched its website.

The associations join a growing number of splinter associations in Chile, representing specific regions or wine method productions. Earlier this year a group of larger organic wineries in Chile officially launched the Chilean Organic Winegrowers association.

Amanda Barnes is regular South America correspondent for db and author of The South America Wine Guide.

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