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CyT joins Chile's fledgling DOC organisation

Published:  25 March, 2015

Concha y Toro, one of Chile's largest international brands, had joined Vigno, a society of small winemakers dedicated to promoting Carignan producers in the Maule Valley.

Vigno, the Vignadores de Carignan, was set up in 2010 by a group of small wine producers working together to improve the positioning of Maule Valley wines through developing a distinctive proposition from old Carignan vines.The Carignan Club, which currently numers fifteen producers, aims to establish a "Secano Interior" appellation in the Maule Valley that is recognised as a DOC, with all wines carrying its logo adhering to a set of agreed criteria. 

The company is releasing Vigno 2013, its first wine created under the Vigno brand, which has been created by CyT's winemaker Marcelo Papa.

Papa said the brand had been keen to take part in the Vigno initiative and the new release showed its commitment to the creation of innovative, cutting-edge wines. "We want to contribute to Vigno and help expand up on the great achievements it has accomplished to date through very high quality wines that are able to demonstrate the qualities of Chile in a valley such as Maule," he said.

He said using the Carignan grape had produced a fresh, attractive and juicy wine with very little oak, that offered black fruit aromas and spice. Carignan vine stock was imported to southern Chile from France after a devastating earthquake in 1939 which devastated Chillán. It was intended to improve the characteristics of Chilean wine and boost agricultural activity.

CyT is by far the body's largest signing, according to Chilean specialist Peter Richards MW, who said it was "huge news" for the society. "Vigno started out as a counter-culture so to have one of the most established brands join it is huge news. But what is the most important thing is that producers are working together though," he said.

Chile is not the most unified country, he argued and producers have tended to be parochial and unwilling to be collaborative.


"As a statement of intent it is massive - it shows that big producers can work with smaller players."

Although Vigno was developed to be very regional, to promote growers of old-vine Carignan grapes, he said there was "no reason" why the idea can't be expanded in other regions of Chile.

"It would be good for the Chilean government to get behind it and make that happen," he said. "The wine industry is doing a better job of lobbying the government recently - it is trying to get more support."

He noted that whereas as European legislation and DOC appellations were set up to protect wine producers and regions from new, in Chile it is the other way around.

"It is necessarily a gradual process, but the precedent is there" he said. "Within Chile there is a melting pot of ideas and creativity which is building on its legacy but which hasn't been well communicated in the past."

Richards was speaking to at the Wines of Chile tasting in London today.