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I honestly love it here. The people are so kind, their culture is bonded in family & the views are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. This week I basically got to help them crush from dusk to dawn… It was awesome! They really make sure to start with a good product, first. I’ve noticed that each time the grapes come in, they’re clean, full & well-cared for. When we test them, they’re packed with flavor, & solid rachis (stem of the grape & main thing we look at when the grapes come in before crush) character. It all starts on the vine & their Vineyard Manager really knows what he’s doing! The coolest part? They don’t use any pesticides. They focus on low-intervention, natural winemaking, without any lab-inoculated yeast; which also stems from their winemaker, Felipe.

From my several years studying wine now, I’ve noticed a theme among winemakers & their craft. Felipe is a perfect example of it. Some winemakers tend to pass along their more prominent qualities to their wine. A more courageous, polished individual may produce a more bold, smooth wine. Whereas a harsher persona would produce a rather green, unseasoned blend. Felipe’s personality exudes strength & reliance, with a subtle fortitude. His wine, by default becomes well-balanced & expressive. It’s amazing to see in action! I have yet to have a bad wine here. The Carmenere is especially tasty… I know, I talk about it every week haha There’s a hint of pepper that I haven’t found in any other region, which makes it stand brilliantly on its own.

Now, onto the city. This weekend was one for the books! I got to participate in Chimbarongo’s 3-day festival held in the City Center. It really came alive! There were street vendors, performers & bands all up & down the main strip. It felt like a mixture between concert & carnival, & let me tell you: That party never stopped! There were families dancing in the streets, food vendors smoking fresh meat at every corner & total strangers becoming best friends in a single conversation. Speaking of strangers: I’m starting to not be one of them. I got noticed twice in the streets! Does that mean I’m a local now?

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I also had the chance to have family dinner with my house mom, Pilar, & roommate, Emil. Chileans are very spontaneous. One second Emil & I were at the grocery store, & the next, Pilar was turning that meat into a feast of empanadas for an entire group of people that showed up. Half baked, half fried, all delicious. We also had french fries which are a HUGE thing out here & dessert… Torta de hoja con nueces. Incredible. We actually got to enjoy it all with our 2019 FO Cabernet Sauvignon– What a pairing! I’m so glad I snuck that one away with me to share. Everyone loved it & it made me feel extra proud of what I’m doing here.

Something I keep recognizing more than the differences are the similarities, even down to the production crew. No one can replace my boys back home, but it’s comforting to notice the similar mannerisms & habits out here. They’re South American cowboys! Just like at Wiens, we work to loud music, crack jokes all day long & make the most of the hard work we’re putting in out here. It’s exciting!

The last big milestone of the week: I finished my final assignment for my Winemaker certification! It feels great to have accomplished such a feat while working towards something I’m so passionate about. I went on a walk the other day, after I finished my class– Side note: The sunsets are ridiculous. Golden hour lasts like 3 hours with never-ending silhouettes of the mountains. I’ll never get tired of that view. Anyways– On my stroll, I got a little sentimental & realized how much Wiens has given me. I’m so grateful to have started here & grown into who I am in my winemaking journey with a crew that works so hard & knows how to build each other up. I respect the work that comes out of Wiens, down to every drop of quality & dedication. Ultimately, I feel grateful to be part of an industry that is so easy to be passionate about & I’m just excited to keep learning. See ya next week!