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Chile launches first WineTech Fund to boost Valparaíso region

Published:  21 June, 2024

The recent Wine Innova Tech 2024 international seminar in Viña del Mar culminated with the announcement of Chile's first WineTech Private Fund, aimed at addressing key challenges in the winemaking industry in the Valparaíso region. The fund will focus on climate change adaptation, sustainability and integrating new technologies into viticulture and grape genetics. Notably, Chile boasts the largest area of non-grafted, European variety vine stocks globally.

Supported by the Comité de Desarrollo Productivo de Valparaíso CORFO through the Viraliza CORFO Programme, the seminar focussed on enhancing the Wine Innovation Strategy in the Valparaíso region. The region spans 4,000km, from Easter Island to Rio Colorado, near the Portillo ski resort.

Maximiliano Morales, senior project manager and agricultural engineer at Wine Innova Tech 2024, emphasised the fund’s goal: “Our key focus is to attract investors and clients for the wineries and grape producers while creating new business opportunities for winemakers and wineries in Valparaíso’s valleys, which include Rapa Nui-Easter Island, Aconcagua, Casablanca, Marga Marga, Quilpué-Villa Alemana, Lo Abarca-San Antonio-Leyda, and the towns of Algarrobo, Llay Llay and Putaendo.”

One of the seminar's highlights was the discovery of a vine from 1650 near a Jesuit church in Putaendo, a city near San Felipe in the Aconcagua Valley, and another at Palacio Rioja, where the event was held. These findings have inspired winery owners to launch a BioTech initiative for DNA profiling and to plant vineyards using the same genetic material to replicate the ancient 'Vino de Misa'. This initiative will also serve as a pilot wine tourism project in Viña del Mar.

Italian winemaker Ettore del Lupo highlighted the significance of the region’s ancestral vines, including a 40-year-old vine at Palacio Rioja and the 1650 vine in Putaendo: “The Valparaíso region must rescue two historic vines, as they validate that this area is one of the oldest with a wine-growing tradition.”

The seminar also featured concurrent trade fairs with wineries like Vino La Joda, Alchemy and Viñedos Herrera Alvarado, showcasing a range of wines. Special recognition was given to Viña Baron Knyphausen Estate in Llay Llay for its Riesling vine stocks brought from the Rheingau.

The establishment of Chile's first WineTech Private Fund marks a significant step toward revolutionising the winemaking industry in the Valparaíso region. By attracting national and international investors, the fund aims to address critical challenges posed by climate change and promote sustainability and technological advancements in viticulture.

Prominent speakers at the seminar included María Luz Marín of Viña Casa Marín, Mariana Onofri of The Wine of Mendoza, Josefa Villarroel, a specialist in entrepreneurship programmes, Gianfranco Marcone, meteorologist for Channel 13 and Chileweather and Juan Carlos Ramos, CEO of Renova Barrels.