The history of our firm begins long ago and far from wine. Victor Pino Torche, the first gentleman in our story a was not born into a traditional Chilean wine family. The family worked in mining administration and the farm was a retreat for summers in San Juan de Pirque. San Juan was not “wine country”, but rather simply a small hamlet on the banks of the Maipo River pe rched high up where the Maipo Valley narrows and climbs into the Cajon del Maipo flanked on both sides by large rock faces of the Andes.
The second gentleman in our story: William Fevre, is best known for his Premier Cru Chablis he produces in Burgundy. Mr. Fevre was hunting for terroir to produce Chardonnay. He thought it odd the Chilean wine producers grew fruit down on the flat lands and he sought a parcel up higher in the mountains. And so it was that he came to knock on Victor’s door in San Juan after scouting the property from the hills above on horseback.
After much conversation it became clear that Victor would not part with what the family held so dear, and so a partnership was formed that would develop the vineyards and a small winery based upon the keen sense of William and the resolve of Victor. Twelve hectares where planted, and then more on another Pino family farm. Five years later a winery was built. It was a practical affair that included modern equipment, but it was clearly geared to a Burgundian style operation that crafted wines slowly, on a smaller scale, barrel by barrel.
The wines quickly found their way to Europe. Initially various bottlings of Chardonnay, rather old-world in style, struck a chord with the markets, but later the mountain grown Cabernet would be recognised. The vines took time to mature, because they were planted at higher altitudes, where snow fell and the growing season was cooler. Neither of the founders was in any hurry. Patience was afforded. The vineyard roots grew deep into the stoney sub-soils of the Maipo’s river banks. When pictures of winter pruning showed snow on the ground, many in the Chilean industry were amused and thought Victor was crazy for having taken on such a venture. Decades passed, the vineyards matured, and the project took a turn. William sold his brands in Burgundy to a large French wine conglomerate, but he held on to two things: the lands of his Premier Cru (which he rented to the conglomerate) and a smaller stake in the mountain grown venture in San Juan.
By the year 2ooo, and a dozen countries had embraced the wines and there was an opportunity to expand the firm. Victor’s youngest son Gonzalo took an interest, so much of an interest that with six children to school he left a comfortable career in retail and went to work on the farm.
Under Gonzalo’s leadership the firm continued to mark a difference from the rest. Gonzalo enlisted the help of dirt doctor Pedro Parra to help better understand why the wines from San Juan were different, and how the farm might further distinguish itself. Work continued and the little firm continued to grow. When winemaker Felipe Uribe came on board, the firm found its focus in fewer wines. The parcels were now well separated and the soils well understood. It became evident that the second property, planted next the winery, had once been the river bed of an ancient tributary of the river Clarillo. These lots were separated to reflect the river-bed’s meandering path. Some of the lots were grafted and years later an earthy Cabernet and a Cabernet Franc found their way into the best of the blends. As word spread amidst the trade, small lots of mountain fruit were made available to other wineries, and the project caught the interest of Alberto Antonini who signed on as blending consultant.
Today, work continues with patience and resolve under the proud gaze of Victor & William who twenty years later, have only now begun to speak of the project: “Now there is something in the bottle, there is something to talk about.”