I was there for the harvest 2016: Caliterra Winery. From center of Santa Cruz (de Chile) after half an hour drive, you can arrive there. You pass from the control in the entrance of the property and drive couple of minutes in the dusty roads; soon you will have to turn your head to the right to see the breathtaking vineyard plots. I know this road by heart, since I have been taking it every morning during the harvest time (although in the mornings I was falling asleep on the way, most of the time!).
What I liked more about the Caliterra Winery is they know how to evaluate their terroir, their grapes and their wine style accordingly. I’ve learn a lot about the grapes and different winemaking styles there. They have a wide range of the grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Carmenere, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Carignan and Syrah from reds, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon blanc from whites. Moreover, they have wide range of equipments: stainless steel tanks, concrete tanks, egg-shaped tanks, amphorae, French and American oak barrels of different capacities, pneumatic press and vertical press for smaller loads… All these grape varieties, coming from different soils and microclimates find the chance to be processed in the correct equipment in Caliterra Winery. In the end they produce wines in different segments: Cenit as their icon, Edicion limitada as blends (A, Andes blend; B, Bordeaux blend; M, Mediterranean blend), Tributo with their mono-varietal wines, Reserva for any occasion and finally DSTNT which I will specially talk about soon!
What also makes Caliterra Winery special is their location which creates an absolutely unique terroir, surrounded by the hills. In 2005, they also introduced some hillside plantings, to be accompanied to the initial plots on the plateau, planted in 1997. With the plantations made in 2008, now they have 288 hectares (711.1 acres) of vineyards in the estate. I will give more details about the different soil types of the estate in my following article, with the information that I’ve obtained from the presentation and tasting by Rodrigo Zamorano, chief winemaker of the estate.
When I was there between March – May, some of the mornings we were arriving to the plantation and we were seeing nothing! Everything was hiding under the fog until noon, after that, the sun was taking the control and dominating the day like nothing happened!
Before everything, let’s just take a small walk in the vineyards of the Caliterra, where they produce their grapes always with the idea of being respectful to the nature and sustainable. They have small gardens in between the plots where they keep the local flora and fauna inside of the estate. It’s just priceless. If you are lucky, like us, you can see the family of the llamas going around in between the vines and yes, eating the grapes! In the end, it’s their right to share the products of the soil on which they are living. For more information and important aspects about their sustainability on the vineyard, visit their website.
After seeing and being a part of the production, the value that you give to a wine changes completely; it can be both positively and negatively. In Caliterra Winery, I saw the nature and the actions that are taken to respect the land. Not only that, also respecting the people who work there. As you can imagine, during harvest time, they need some help from the seasonal employees, so they receive people from the region, and also from other countries (as me). Coming together under Caliterra ‘family’, everybody works with coherency. The company organizes some events time to time, which include all the employees from vineyard to the offices; for example tastings of a wine that they are producing, lunch for Easter, ceremony for welcoming the harvest and party for end of the harvest etc. These events increase the interaction between the employees and create motivation!
3 months in Caliterra winery definitely was not enough to discover all the magic that they have but I will be sharing the highlights of my experience with you! Stay with me for more winey experiences in Chile!
All images © 2017 by Nedret Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.