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Volcanic wines from a shifting landscape

Volcanic wines from a shifting landscape

The Project

Our wines come from vineyards that contain volcanic soils and our aim is to ensure all our products reflect the unique minerality of each site. Chile has over 2,900 volcanoes and our vineyards are located in different valleys across the country with deeper sub-soils rich in volcanic matter which help the vine withstand high temperatures, retain humidity and offer good drainage. For us the volcanic character is an attribute which makes our wines more vibrant and richer with greater complexity in aromas and on the palate. Our philosophy is to produce wines which reflect this unique and carefully studied origin and display the purity of the grape varietals without excessive use of oak.

Pilar Díaz
Head Winemaker Bodega Volcanes de Chile

The Project

Our wines come from vineyards that contain volcanic soils and our aim is to ensure all our products reflect the unique minerality of each site. Chile has over 2,900 volcanoes and our vineyards are located in different valleys across the country with deeper sub-soils rich in volcanic matter which help the vine withstand high temperatures, retain humidity and offer good drainage. For us the volcanic character is an attribute which makes our wines more vibrant and richer with greater complexity in aromas and on the palate. Our philosophy is to produce wines which reflect this unique and carefully studied origin and display the purity of the grape varietals without excessive use of oak.

Pilar Díaz
Head Winemaker Bodega Volcanes de Chile

Vineyards

Rapel Vineyard
Located in the province of Cachapoal and about 40kms from Rengo.
Maule Vineyard
Vineyard located 400km south of Santiago to the east of the coastal range of mountains.
Malleco Vineyard
This vineyard belongs to a grower with whom we have a long-term contract.
Bio Bio Vineyard
This vineyard belongs to a grower with whom we have a long-term contract.
Maipo Vineyard
"La Higuera" is a vineyard located in the Andes foothills on the southern outskirts of Santiago.
Leyda Vineyard
The Leyda estate is close to San Antonio and just 12kms from the Pacific ocean.

The Team

María del Pilar Díaz

María del Pilar Díaz

Winemaker

María del Pilar is an intrepid and passionate winemaker with the responsibility of bringing our unique wines to life in the winery. She is calm but also self-assured and leads the operation with a renowned level of meticulousness to obtain wines that stand out from others and reflect the volcanic origin of the soils where the grapes are grown.

Pilar’s vocation for wine began when she was very young. Her mother, Pilar Gonzalez, was one of the few female winemakers in Chile in the 80’s – she was winemaker for Santa Carolina for 25 years and Viña Carmen for a further 7 years – at a time when winemaking was very much a mans domain. It was then that “Pili” learnt the art and science of making wine while she accompanied her mother in the vineyards and winery training her senses from a young age. As a qualified winemaker she has worked in numerous other countries including Marlborough, New Zealand – working a harvest at Nobilo focusing on Sauvignon Blanc – Burgundy – where she focused on Pinot Noir & Chardonnay at Domaine Roux Père et Fils – and in Napa – at Ken Bernards, winemaker of Ancien Wines.

Pilar joined the Grupo Vinos Del Pacifico (GVP), the holding that includes Bodega Volcanes, in 2009 and participated in the Project from its very outset. Together with Agustín Aguerrea they pursued the idea of developing wines with a true sense of place from the volcanic soil lots within the GVP owned estates. The idea gained momentum and the geologist Gonzalo Henriquez joined the team and provided a detailed study to help understand the soils and rock formations. The first vintage produced some superb wines and the rest is history!

Besides her innate passion for winemaking Pili loves the outdoors and the country life normally with her numerous adopted dogs in tow. She also makes her own goats cheese to compete with Agustin’s Iberian ham and accompany the wines!

Agustín Aguerrea

Agustín Aguerrea

Terroir Manager

Agustin Aguerrea is a mild-mannered individual who is passionate about terroir and is also a family man. With his penetrating gaze and precise words, Agustin has vast experience and knows the vineyards like the back of his hand. He oversees all the teams working in the vineyards with clear instructions and great camaraderie covering over 2,400 kilometers each month to ensure he is always seen in the areas of Cauquenes, Colchagua, and Almahue for which he is responsible.

Agustín joined Bodega Volcanes at the very start of the project as he has always had a vast knowledge of the Andes mountains and its volcanoes as well as expertise in viticulture.

Between 1998 and 2006 he oversaw a 200-hectare project in Colchagua for a winery and he has also visited Spanish producers in Rioja and Navarra. From 2006-2008 he worked in a premium winery in Maipo and has participated in harvests in many of Chile’s major wineries. His love of viticulture derives from his father, a Basque country immigrant who arrived in Chile in the 50’s and who was a farmer his entire life.

In his free time Agustin is often found in the mountains climbing with his friends and family conquering new summits; sometimes on expeditions that last several days. In addition, Agustin has a great lust for life with a particular penchant for charcuterie, also a family trait, having learned from his father the techniques to produce Iberian ham which we often have the pleasure of sampling with our wines!

Gonzalo Henriquez

Gonzalo Henriquez

Geologist

Gonzalo is a senior Geologist specialising in exploration and provides a truly scientific and unique perspective, which is often overlooked in winemaking, regarding the geological factors and their characteristics and impact on wine from a specific terroir.

His own passion for wine began in the late 2000’s and since then the winemaking aspect of geology has remained a hobby which was further increased when he met Larry Meinert (Geology consultant) who has published several works about geology and terroir including “Fine Wine and Terroir” a book that compares European terroir with North American terroir from a geo-scientific perspective.

Once Gonzalo had participated in the early stages of the project he embarked on his geological career and has worked for BHP Billington in Copper deposits in Northern Chile as well as with Zinc, lead and Gold mining in Patagonia. In addition he has worked on the development of gold mining techniques in Australia and public sector projects including motorways and viaducts. Gonzalo has continued to pursue his particular interest in volcanic rocks with projects including laboratory studies in the GFZ Institute in Potsdam, Germany, a volcanology course in Argentina’s Andes plains for UNESCO and site work in Antartica. In 2018 Gonzalo re-joined the team in a consultancy capacity to ensure that we continue to develop our understanding of the geological influence that goes beyond the terroir element associated with most wines.

Roberto Pinto

Roberto Pinto

Viticulturist

Viticulturist and Agronomist, Robert Pinto, is larger than life in body and soul. Roberto has been instrumental in helping locate and manage the exciting contract vineyards which we have started working with at Bodega Volcanes. His job is to ensure that our external contracts grow grapes according to our requirements and standards to ensure the best possible quality for the wines.

Roberto joined the project at the beginning to offer his insight on specific new sites and possible new grapes which were not immediately accesible to us through GVP. His passion for viticulture began at a young age when he helped his family with harvest on their farm in Peñaflor, Maipo. He enjoys the diversity of his job given that he is always on the road visiting different zones of Chile and getting to know them better every time. His role reflects a great balance whereby he continues to learn from the older, more traditional farmers and at the same time educates the younger growers so that they can fulfil their potential.

In the early days of his career Roberto was part of the team at Viña Carmen from 1993-1995 and also worked on the first organic grapes project at that winery as well as managing the grapes for the premium ranges of wines. Between 2000-2001 he worked as a vineyard manager in Macary Vineyards, New York and since then has provided countless consultations regarding organic farming in the vineyards given his expertise in this area. He is a lover of geography and when he’s not on the move, he has endless yarns to tell of his time on the road!

Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon

Managing Director

Ben Gordon was born and studied in the United Kingdom where he attended the Catholic boarding school, The Oratory and subsequently The University of Leeds achieving his degree in French & Spanish which included a year in Chile in 2000 working as a teacher through the British Council. This immediately led him towards a career with an international focus; it was in London that Ben first started working in the wine trade at a reputable publishing house that was home to The International Wine Challenge, Wine Magazine, Just-Drinks, Drinks International and Wine & Spirit International magazine.

With the WSET Level 3 under his belt, in December 2005 Ben decided to return to Chile due to, as he states, “his love for a woman and wine” and has remained there ever since.

In Chile Ben has accumulated considerable experience having worked for both large and small wineries and has managed all four continents directly during that time.

Ben is married to his Chilean wife, Natalia, and they have three young children who share his enthusiasm and energy and love for sports. Ben is incredibly passionate about Chile and its wine and feels blessed to work in a job that allows him to explore new cultures and meet new people with a glass in his hand. He has always been a keen sportsman and is a keen runner having completed his first marathon in 2017.

Ignacio Campo

Ignacio Campo

Export & Marketing Manager

Ignacio is an enthusiastic young man who studied Business at university and already has considerable experience in FMCG’s. He joined Volcanes at the beginning of 2016 as Export & Marketing Manager and displays outstanding creativity and passion whilst leading sales in Chile and Latin America as well as Marketing and social media.

Ignacio studied Business management at “Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez”, a time during which he was able to complete a Masters in Marketing and spend time living in Vancouver and New York. His first job after university was at CCU (one of Chile’s largest FMCG companies) where he worked in the Chilean market focusing on implementing commercial plans in different channels for beer, wine and confectionery products.

He is convinced that there are endless opportunities for growth in all markets and believes that wine carries a major role in the recognition of Chile as a country worldwide helping people to investigate more the cultures and people via their passion for wine. His own enthusiasm begins at home with his family where wine is an integral part of any gathering but at Volcanes his exposure to the vineyards and winemaking areas has helped to further his appreciation more and led him to recently pass the WSET level 2.

Aside from work Ignacio is an avid photographer which he often combines with Volcanes as the main supplier of the brand’s impressive image library and he is most happy in the outdoors either hiking up mountains or around a BBQ….and one thing is for sure a bottle of wine is never far away.