VIGNO – Chile’s First Appellation In The Making

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VIGNO – Vignadores de Carignan, the first true Chilean appellation is set to be a  reality. The name is derived from vino, the Spanish word for wine, combined with the “G” from Carignan.  VIGNO represents old-vine Carignan wines from the Maule Valley, located about three hours south of Santiago. Signifying an important innovation in the Chilean wine trade, VIGNO is a unique collective collaboration, combining both small and large Maule producers under a unified market vision, and thus raising the bar for the participating wineries.

 

 

A Common Goal

Besides pledging to make Carignan-based wines, produced under dry-farming conditions and having the mission of rescuing the old vines of Maule, VIGNO celebrates the cultural heritage of the Maule, its people and winemaking traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation for over 400 years.

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Oldest Wine Producing Región

The Maule Valley has been the cradle of the Chilean wine industry and its rustic Spanish grape varieties since the 16th century, making it the oldest wine-producing region of the country.  By the 1930s viticulture in Maule was largely dependent on the Pais or Mission grape variety and was farmed and made into wines using old world traditions.

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Re-Birth of Carignan

After the destructive earthquake of 1939, which claimed tens of thousands of lives and brought local agriculture to a standstill,  the Department of Oenology of the Ministry of Agriculture encouraged the planting of French Carignan to improve the characteristics of the region’s “everyman” local wines. The terroir of Maule is a marriage of the noble, yet strong spirited character and work ethic of its people, the soils and the Carignan, grafted onto the Pais roots.

Thermal Amplitude

The particular concentration and elegance of Carignan from Maule is mostly due to a climate consisting of hot persistent sun in the summer and the nightly cool coastal breezes.  The average maximum January temperatures reach almost 30º C, and the minimum drops down to 11º C.

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The Maule Valley

When visiting the towns and villages of the region, one comes to the conclusion that time has forgotten Maule. VIGNO benefits the community by helping to promote a greater awareness of the Maule Valley, including its attractions, wine tourism, hospitality and the wine trade.  VIGNO has a lasting commitment to work for the people of the Maule, who have witnessed little innovation or entrepreneurship over the past decade.

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The People

The people of Maule are friendly and welcoming. They enjoy sharing their visions and rural heritage.  They are a people of strong character; brave and respectful of the land and tradition. They speak of the earth, its vines and its fruits.  Nature and its glorious beauty is king in Maule.

Technical Aspects

  • Variety:  Carignan or Carignan grafted onto Pais roots – minimum 65%
  • Vineyard age:  30 year minimum
  • Irrigation system:  None – strictly dry-farmed vines allowed
  • Vine training:  Head-trained, bush-head or goblet
  • Origin:  the Maule – 100% dry-farmed old-vines
  • Wines: Carignan or Carignan blend: 65% minimum.  Remaining 35% must be dry-farmed old-vine fruit from the Maule
  • Aging:  Minimum 24 months in barrel and/or bottle.  Barrels need not be new and may be substituted by amphoras

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The Spirit Of Collaboration

De Martino

Garage Wine Co.

Garcia + Schwaderer

Gillmore

Lomas De Cauquenes

Meli

Miguel Torres

Morande

Odfjell

Undurraga

Valdivieso

Viña Roja

The creation of VIGNO has generated a long-term relationship that benefits both the growers and producers of Carignan.  Its brand identity reinforces a long-needed differentiation in Chile’s national wine trade.  It is expected that VIGNO’s creation and success will lead to other innovative projects linked to wine and other industries in the Maule region and possibly other Chilean wine regions.

-Written by Rudi Goldman

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