Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chilean Wine Associations Vinnova S.A. & Tecnovid S.A. Sign Wine Accord with the University of California, Davis to Study Sustainability, Wine Flavors

Today the premier wine research organizations of Chile, Vinnova S.A. and Tecnovid S.A., and the Department of Viticulture and Enology of the University of California, Davis, signed an accord to conduct joint studies on sustainability, energy efficiency, green winemaking, wine flavors and phenolics, as well as the economics of the wine industry. The President of Chile, Michele Bachelet, Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Chancellor of the University of California, Davis, Larry Vanderhoef attended the ceremony.

Chile is one of the leading wine producers in the world and is currently the fifth largest exporter to the United States. The agreement brings together Vinnova S.A. and Tecnovid S.A., (established by the Universidad de Chile, the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, the Universidad de Talca, the Universidad Tecnico Federico Santa Maria, and the Universidad de Concepcion) with the Department of Viticulture and Enology of the University of California, Davis - one of the premier wine research centers in the world. The central valley of Chile and northwestern coast of the United States, ranging from northern California to Washington State, share similar climactic conditions and principal grapes varieties grown, and can benefit from sharing best practices and joint research.

Rafael Guilisasti, President of Vinnova, S.A., Patricio Middleton, President of Tecnovid S.A., and Neal Van Alfen, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, signed the accord. The Chilean delegation also included the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Mariano Fernandez, and Rene Merino, President of Wines of Chile. Ambassador Fernandez is one of the foremost Chilean wine experts and is a member of the Academie International du Vin, Cofradia del Merito Vitivinicola de Chile, as well as the Honorary President of the Chilean Association of Sommeliers. Mr. Merino leads the association of Chilean wineries, Wines of Chile, and is also President of Casa Tamaya, a winery located in Chile's Limari Valley.

"This partnership between Vinnova, S.A., Tecnovid, S.A. and the University of California, Davis will produce globally important knowledge and practical applications to address some of the most critical issues facing the wine industry today," said Mr. Merino. "The evolution of winemaking calls for greater attention to sustainable winemaking practices as energy usage, carbon footprints and climate change take on greater importance."

This accord signals the next phase in Chile's long history of working with the top oenologists and winemakers in the world, beginning in the mid 19th century when rootstocks were brought to the South American country from Bordeaux. Economic liberalization in the late 1980s gave way to a rebirth of international wine research, investment and wine partnerships in Chile with top wineries from Napa, Bordeaux, Spain, Italy, and Australia. In the 1990s Chile imported more winemaking technology than any other wine producing country. With a greater understanding of Chilean terroir in new winemaking regions, and the rediscovery of Carmenere, the diversity and quality of Chilean wines has improved dramatically. Today Chile produces critically acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, red blends and Sauvignon Blanc, among other varietals.

Following the ceremony, a toast was lead by President Bachelet and Chancellor Vanderhoef with Chilean and California wines. The Chancellor hosted a luncheon at his residence for the Chilean and California delegations. The menu featured Chilean Sea Bass and Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca and Leyda Valleys in Chile.

Wines of Chile