Chile is generally considered part of the “New world”. If, however, a winery was established in 1870, and run by five generations of the same family, there must be tradition and experience involved, which even a winegrower from the “Old World” could rightfully be proud of. The Errázuriz winery can be considered a pioneer in many ways.
Chinese proverb says that even the longest road starts with the first step. If this first step not only leads to the establishment of a renowned winery, but also transforms an entire valley from a rough natural landscape to a blossoming vine paradise, we should all be grateful to Don Maximiano Errázuriz for his pioneering work. In 1870, he established vineyards and a cellar in the Valle de Aconcagua, 100 kilometres north of Santiago, the capital of Chile, and planted cuttings he had imported from France. In the meantime, the valley became a very gifted winegrowing region, especially for fine red wines, because its cold, rainy winters and dry, hot summers are ideal for viniculture. Don Maximiano recognised these favourable conditions even back then.
The Errázuriz family was a very important member of the Chilean society of the 1800, having produced several heads of state, diplomats, archbishops, politicians, writers, and industrialists. Don Maximiano struck it rich in the early copper and gas industry. One of the founder’s descendants, Eduardo Chadwick Claro, is currently managing the company as the fifth generation. He is a cosmopolitan, modest, but energetic man, who has advanced the estate’s modernisation just as steadily since 1983, when his father, Alfonso Chadwick Errázuriz, entrusted him with the mission of continuing the family visionary spirit, as his ancestor had done when he founded it. If Viña Errázuriz is calling itself the “first among Chile’s family-owned vineyards”, this is thanks to the vision and initiative of Eduardo Chadwick. He is a respective and tireless ambassador for Chilean fine wine throughout the world.
In 1990 there was a fateful encounter for Errázuriz and the Chilean viticulture. The Californian star winemaker Robert Mondavi visited the country for the first time, and the two men met and learned to respect each other. They shared their passion for wine and a vision for quality. In 1995, they decided to set up a joint venture, the result of which would be Chile’s first Icon wine: Seña, a blend of six grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec). For four years, the men from California and Chile looked for the right spot and finally found it west of the valley in Ocoa, 36 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. This is where Viña Seña was created.
In the Valle de Colchagua, another joint venture was started in 1996: Viña Caliterra. Since 2004, both have been wholly owned by Eduardo Chadwick, with the goal to produce premium Chilean wines on the basis of strict sustainability standards. Quality and sustainable practices are fundamental in the whole group of wineries, which also includes two more independent family companies that produce outstanding wines: Viña Arboleda, which was started in 1999 and was named after the Chilean trees that surround the vineyards, and Viñedo Chadwick, producing a single wine in the Alto Maipo, where it used to be the Chadwick family’s home, made in memory of Don Alfonso Chadwick.
As a result, the names Errázuriz and Chadwick represent a great Chilean wine family, which has always focused on the production of especially highquality wines. In total, the group cultivates around 1,300 planted hectares, located mostly in the Valle de Aconcagua, while some vineyards can be found in Casablanca, Maipo, Colchagua and Curicó.
In honour of the company’s founder, Viña Errázuriz launched Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve, one of the very first Chilean ultra premium wines. Another memorable event in the company’s history and, at the same time, an impressive confirmation of the company’s quality focus was the Berlin Tasting held in 2004. During this blind test by experts, the Errázuriz Icon wines asserted themselves against recognised Grand Crus and Super Tuscans such as Château Latour, Lafite, Tignanello and Sassicaia. This was a success not only for the producer, but also for the entire Chilean viniculture, since it demonstrated the quality of the Chilean terroir. Since then, this international educational programme, promoting Chilean fine wine top quality has been performed in the most relevant capitals of the world, more than 15 times, with reiterated successful results for the Errázuriz Icon wines.
Eduardo Chadwick continues to display the pioneering spirit that characterises his family. Some years ago, he started developing a new winegrowing area, the Aconcagua Costa, a cool climate region, where Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc grow very well, and which has just been legally and officially recognized as a new Denomination of Origin for Chile in September. Eduardo Chadwick, who likes hiking in his spare time, has climbed the highest peak in the western world, the Mount Aconcagua, which is quite symbolic because the melt water from this 6,962-metre high giant waters the Don Maximiano vineyards, located in the original place where the winery was founded. Don Maximiano’s motto continues to apply: the best wines from the best land.
Viña Errázuriz S.A.
Av. Nueva Tajamar 481
Office 503 Torre Sur,
Las Condes, Santiago, Chile
Tel.: +56 2 339-9100
Fax: +56 2 203-6690
Contact in Germany:
Schlumberger GmbH & Co. KG