This past weekend a group of us girls (yes…all 12 of us) headed out to Casablanca, one of the richest and most fertile wine areas of the region conveniently located about an hour southwest from Viña/Valpo. It was beautiful…vineyard after vineyard with sweeping mountains in every direction.
We elected the organic vineyard, Viña Emiliana (amazing decision). They were not only so unique in their sustainable and socially responsible practices, but also so articulate in their mission and (let’s not forget) makers of delectable wine. Oddly enough, this was a vineyard that I actually presented on in one of my classes. Further research? You bet, anytime.
Some of Viña Emiliana’s amazing features as an organic vineyard:
Chickens and Guinea Fowl: Rather than using synthetic, chemically ridden pesticides, Emiliana has created natural products of biological origin from various means of composting to maintain their crops. Additionally, they hire these feathery creatures ^^ to roam about and eat the insects that are harmful to the grapes. They are definitely hard-workers too, they didn’t stop the entire time we were touring the fields!
Alpacas: So I learned that in addition to these guys having some of the best fur around, they also have some of the best…fertilizer. In the words of our tour guide, Rámon, “black gold.” That being said, Emiliana keeps them on the vineyard to help cultivate and maintain the nutrients of the soil.
Understanding Natural Energy: Unsurprisingly, Emiliana strives to use natural energy sources. More specifically, Emiliana uses sun, moon, and planet cycles and their influences along with the “biodynamic calendar” to program their assorted agricultural activities and other tasks to the best quality fruit, and thus wines, possible.
Field Worker Benefits: It is not a secret that Chile could be doing a better job at their social services. Well…Emiliana has combated that issue as well. The garden (for crops independent of the grapes), olive trees, alpacas, and beehives are used by the workers to supplement their income through producing the corresponding products of vegetables, olive oil, wool, and honey. Where the vegetables are food for their families, the rest are sold in the store with the wine and all of the proceeds go to the workers. This aid is offered in order for them to attain/afford healthcare. Fabulous.
Perfecting these phenomenal solutions was some phenomenal imbibing. We were able to select a cheese or chocolate pallet with our wine…no need to ask what I picked! (Chocolate, of course). Then, sampled all four with the corresponding, complimentary nosh. This ranged from chocolate covered poison berries accompanying the citrusy, Sauvignon Blanc all the way to the chili infused chocolate paired with my favorite red…the Coyam. Let me tell you about this 38% Syrah, 31% Carmenere, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Mourvedre, 1% Malbec “mezcla,” or mixture…smoky, sweet perfection in a tumbler.
All and all it was amazing day filled with learning, laughing, and even some sunshine on these final winter days.