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Five minutes with Marcelo Papa, Concha y Toro

Published:  01 August, 2023

Marcelo Papa, technical director at Concha y Toro, is in the UK to bring some new wines to market, including a lighter-alcohol label. James Bayley gets the lowdown.

What was the motivation behind these new wines?

We experimented with early picking of some Sauvignon Blanc which we never thought could be picked so early. We were really impressed with the results, so decided to make Belight Sauvignon Blanc. It’s naturally light in alcohol, we didn’t dealcoholise.

How important is the Concha y Toro research centre?

The centre has been a great resource since it opened nine years ago. The key is that it drives innovation and research. You don’t see results immediately, but the centre changes our mindset. Today we are much more open to exploration. There has been valuable work done on reducing the water footprint in the vineyard and the winery and also creating plants free from viruses.

What is your biggest professional achievement?

I have helped to expand viticulture in the country to areas where we previously weren’t active and to convince other winemakers that it was worth looking there too – for example in Limari.

What does the future hold?

With super-premium wines we are going to continue working on the typicity of the place, with less intervention and more precision in the fruit character, to move them to the next level.

As a global business, we need to focus on all the main markets and make sure our wines are delivering what consumers are asking for.

Is there anything else you would still like to achieve in your career?

I want to continue putting Limari Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the class of world-class wines.