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Blog 4: Mario Pablo Silva, managing director Vina Casa Silva

Published:  17 March, 2009

Blog number four from Mario Pablo Silva, managing director of Viña Casa Silva March 16 2009, Colchagua Valley, Chile

It has been an exciting but very busy time at Viña Casa Silva this week, with most of our grape varieties now being harvested, in all our vineyards from the Andes to the coast.

Now that the harvest has really taken off we can fully enjoy the benefits of the investment we made this winter to increase the size of our cooling chamber at the winery. Head winemaker, Mario Geisse, is delighted with the results: the chamber now holds up to 8000 trays of fruit (approximately 96,000kg) which are cooled to a temperature of 3-5°C in just a few hours. We use the chamber for all our white grapes and most of our reds.

As the harvested fruit arrives at the winery it is put straight into the cooling chamber for a few hours. This helps prevent the enzymatic activity before the grapes are processed, so there's no oxidation or loss of aromas, and it gives us a greater element of control and flexibility at the
winery. The Chamber is a vital tool for keeping micro-terroir parcels separate.

Last weekend was the Harvest Festival of Colchagua. This takes place in the streets of Santa Cruz and visitors taste the region's finest wines and enjoy activities for the entire family. These include traditional Chilean Cueca dance competitions for adults and children, live Chilean music, a Huaso parade, antique carriages, regional foods and crafts, the crowning of the Harvest Queen, and a show in the city's rodeo arena.

Viña Casa Silva hosted the Grand Opening Dinner at our winery and invited key customers and journalists to join us for this special occasion. After dinner we held a Polo tournament at our ground. Our team had a number of top international players including my son Max, who plays for Chile's national side, and Matias Vial, the top player at the last World Championship. However, we weren't particularly successful...I think we were probably too distracted by everything going on in the vineyards!

This week we are planning to pick the first small parcels of Sauvignon Blanc from Paredones. Although most of the vineyard barely shows 20 brix at this stage due to the much fresher coastal climate, the most exposed sectors have reached 22 brix, and show a good balance of phenolic ripeness already.

Elsewhere, we have almost finished picking the Chardonnay in Lolol and have now started on the first parcels of Merlot (24.5 to 25 brix) and Viognier (24.5 brix). We're also progressing slowly with the first of our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. In fact the only varieties that we have not yet begun to harvest are Syrah, Carmenere and Petit Verdot.

Now I must get some rest before getting back to work. Until next week, saludos....