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Walker & Wodehouse and Vagabond Wines to mark anniversary of Maule earthquake

Published:  23 February, 2016

Wine merchant, Walker & Wodehouse has partnered with independent retailer, Vagabond Wines, to celebrate the first wines from the Ploughmen Project, which arose in response to the Chilean earthquake of February 27, 2010.

This Saturday, which is the sixth anniverary of the tragedy, Vagabond Wines will be offering its customers a free glass Ploughmen Carignan alongside a Chilean interpretation of a ploughman's lunch.

It will be the first time Ploughmen Carignan will have been available to consumers in the UK.

The Ploughmen Project is the brainchild of  Derek Mossman Knapp of the Garage Wine Co.

Knapp used a bursary from the Geoffrey Roberts Trust to develop a support programme for the hard-hit wine community of the Maule.

It enabled three smallholdings in the Maule Valley to build a sustainable future for themselves by nurturing forgotten age-old Carignan vineyards into fine wines for export.

Walker & Wodehouse, which imports the Garage Wine Co's wines into the UK, also invested in the project.

The Ploughmen Carignan wine comes from a plot in Sauzal in the Maule Valley that belongs to Don Nivaldo Morales and his wife Otelia.

The wine was farmed by hand and horse using traditional methods of dry-farming vines which are more than 100 years old.

It was naturally fermented with its native yeasts in open-top fermenters. Caps were punched down by hand and pressing was strictly manual. 

The wine was barrel aged for two winters, largely in third-use French oak barrels. 

Finally, it was bottle aged for more than a year before release.

Proceeds made from sales of Ploughmen Carignan will be reinvested into the programme by Walker & Wodehouse and the Garage Wine Co.

Derek Mossman Knapp of the Garage Wine Co, said: "The earthquake of 2010 struck just before harvest, in the heart of the Maule - the cradle of Chilean viticulture. The farmers, who had ploughed the earth since colonial times, saw their earth twist and turn, and their homes torn asunder.

"I saw the farmers as they were getting up, brushing themselves off, and getting on with things. Their resilience was inspiring.

"I proposed that we could, together, make wines of place, one from each parcel, and bottle them separately - no matter how small.

"It has been five years and we think, and we are no longer alone, that we have made some superb wines that will excite fine wine lovers in the UK.

"I am grateful, both to the ploughmen, and to Walker & Wodehouse for their belief and support and am thrilled to have these wines in the UK market."

Vagabond Wines has three stores in London, situated Fulham, Charlotte Street and Spitalfields.