Meet the producer: Roberto Henriquez
Native to Concepción Roberto studied enology and worked in wineries across Canada, South Africa and France, where he worked with Domaine Mosse. In 2015 started his own project as a winemaker, as well as continuing work as a wine consultant. The Bio-Bio region in his view is unspoilt and traditionally is an aread where they’ve not used chemicals when farming, although modern farmers have tended towards chemical use, and this is something Roberto does not support. Using old vines across 3 hectares, he farms on 4 parcels in the Mountains Cordillera de Nahuelbuta and also buys fruits from friends close to Nacimento.
A native of Concepción, Roberto – largely inspired by his Uncle - has always dreamed of making wine. He studied to be an Agronomist and Enologist, then worked for large commercial wineries in Chile, South Africa and Canada.
Returning to Chile, Roberto spent some time with Louis Antoine Luyt, and this experience - along with working with producers such as Mosse in France (Loire) -helped change his perception of wine.
The Bio-Bio region (close to where Roberto was born) is, in his view, the most unspoilt place to make wine in Chile. The old farmers work traditionally, having never used chemicals. However, the Chilean culture doesn’t pay much importance to historic winemaking, and he felt he had to do something to try and keep tradition alive.
While also working as a wine growing consultant, in 2015 Roberto started his own project, working with traditional methods and old vines. He is now building his own winery. Roberto farms 3ha spread across 4 parcels which are close together in the mountains - Cordillera de Nahuelbuta. He then buys fruits from friends close to Nacimento.
In Bio-Bio, there is considerable soil diversity between plots. Vine-training height also varies - Riveira del Notro at 1m high, and the Santa Cruz de Coya vines lay very close to the ground. It’s a cool-climate region, with a cool spring, summers in the early 30s, and quick transition from Autumn to Winter. Southerly latitude plays a massive part, as does the mountain topography (lots of small hills, vines situated on inclines); maximum altitude is under 400m.
Pipenos is the traditional winemaking style of Chile - manual destemming, gentle crushing of grapes and punch downs, only using Chilean wood, short macerations. Whites with skin, traditional method.
Pais has a naturally low acidity; it’s a complex grape to work with in cellar. It has strong in vines which work very well for organic agriculture. It has dry rustic tannin and can be very green so you need to be gentle.