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Monday, March 01, 2010

Chilean Wineries Sustain Damages

By now we've all heard the reports about Chile's devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake. It was somewhat of a shock to me that another natural disaster would follow so closely after what had happened in Haiti. Hopefully the world will respond in a similar fashion and help in the aid and recovery of Chile. (Although I doubt it because now it's not the dog and pony show)

This time the damage sustained in this earthquake strikes home to a lot more of us wine consumers. Chile as we know has come leaps in bounds in producing high quality and beautifully crafted wines. Just a couple years ago one of their prized wines "Clos Apalta" was the winner of the prestigious Wine Spectator award "The Wine of the Year".

Reports are now surfacing that some of Chile's wineries have undergone serious damages. On I read a report that said this:

"A magnitude-8.8 quake — one of the biggest in centuries — has reportedly killed at least 708 people and destroyed or badly damaged 500,000 homes.

It has been reported that Eduardo Chadwick of Errázuriz said all people were accounted for and no problems at his Aconcagua winery but the Curicó and Colchagua cellars were affected. Unofficially Viu Manent lost 1.6 million liters of its wine also Casa Silva and Los Vascos around 80 percent each. This is unconfirmed.

But Casa Lapostelle’s Cunaco winery sustained a lot of damage and loss. Hopefully their Apalta facility is safe as it is built into rock, but there have been rumors of damage in Aplata as well.

Arnaud Frennet of Casa Silva emailed, “We are all safe and fine. Material damage is very large. This country is devastated. There is a serious challenge ahead of us.”

My family's thoughts and prayers will be with the magnificent and beautiful people of Chile


Claudia said...

Yes, Chile is on the midst of great hardship. Wishing all good things to come to them as they rebuild and rework.

Unknown said...

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank you all for the support and concern that you have shown in these past few days. It has been essential during this initial stage of recovery, as we work hard to reestablish order and normality as quickly as possible.

While the Chilean wine industry has certainly been affected, the real tragedy is the loss of lives, the injuries, and the conditions of the many Chileans who have lost everything, especially in the Maule and Bio-Bio Regions.

We are a strong people and used to adversities. They have shaped our character and have forced us, time and time again, to move forward. We will do so again now—of this I am certain.

The entire Viu Manent team and our respective families are fine, and as of last week end, have been working hard and are fully committed to bringing everything back into functioning order as soon as possible.

Our vineyards—the very foundation of our production and the source of our great love for the work we do—are very much intact and in the caring hands of our very committed agricultural team.

The cellar itself resisted very well and has only minor damage, which we are repairing now.

The winemaking equipment is intact and ready to receive our 2010 harvest.

Our bottling and labeling lines are also intact and will be back to work as soon as we solve some problems with the electrical lines, which we expect to have in order this week.

With respect to the wine, an initial but detailed quantification shows that losses do not exceed 15% and mostly resulted from the collapse of some of our largest tanks, some barrels, and some bottled wine.

In terms of infrastructure, our tourism area suffered the greatest damage, with the collapse of a portion of the Llavería, an old adobe building. As a result we will be unable to receive visitors for a few months during the low season.

Morale and enthusiasm are high, both on my own part and that of all those who work most closely with us. The commitment of the entire Viu Manent team is intact, and above and beyond any adversity that we may be forced to face, we are ready to continue our ongoing mission to produce ever-better wines…and this is something that I want to convey with the optimism, drive, and spirit that we are known for.

With the support and confidence of our importers, suppliers, the trade, media, and consumers, the Chilean wine industry will recover very quickly, and the 2010 vintage will be remembered as a very special one, because the united front that characterizes our industry, its dynamism, and its participation in the market will strengthen it, based on what is truly essential—our exceptional natural conditions and the extraordinary drive of a country with an undeniable vitivinicultural vocation that no hardship can diminish.

We at Viu Manent have no time to feel sorry for ourselves; all of our efforts are focused on picking ourselves up as quickly as possible and getting back to doing what we do best: delivering the great wines that our family has been making for 75 years and now exports to more than 40 countries around the world.

Finally, I sincerely hope that the media in general, and especially that of the wine trade, which has always been essential in communicating the successes of our industry, will continue in its vital mission of delivering objective and truthful information by turning to official sources in order to avoid distortions and unconfirmed versions of what is happening here.


José Miguel Viu