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Errazuriz
Begun in 1870 by Don Maximiano Errázuriz in the tiny town of Panquehue, Errazuriz vineyards was, not long after its founding, one of the largest single-owner wine estates in the world, with 1730 acres planted in an area largely unknown for viticulture in Chile at the time. Don Maximiano was used to making big bets, however. As the part owner of the country's primary copper producer and the owner of the country's primary natural gas producer, Don Maximiano did not do anything half-heartedly. As the elder son of one of Chile's most influential families (of which 4 sons became presidents, 2 sons became archbishops, etc.) you might say it was in his blood.

Planted with cuttings imported from Europe, the estates vineyards were planted, cultivated, and vinified with a spare-no-expense approach that is much more common today than at the end of the 19th century. As a result, the estate has had the reputation of making some of Chile's best wine for nearly 100 years.
Given the power and influence of the family, it is perhaps less than remarkable that the winery continues to be run by one of Don Maximiano's descendants. President Eduardo Chadwick is the sole owner of Errazuriz, as well as a major shareholder in the other parts of the small wine empire that has accumulated over the past few decades, including the brands Seña and Chadwick.

Errazuriz has recently completed construction of a brand new winery building that is one of the most stunning pieces of modern winery architecture in the world. Designed at a price of $50 million dollars by architect Samuel Claro, with the help of sustainability consultant Guillermo Hevia, the winery is masterful in its use of light, curved surfaces, and airflow, resulting in an incredibly compelling space that is naturally cooled from air recirculated from underground. This building will be used to produce the winery's flagship wines.

The estate's vineyards still include much of the land purchased by Don Maximiano when he built the estate, including around 35 acres of vineyards that rise up behind the winery to meet the descending carpet of avocado trees laid down by the neighbors. The winery owns several other vineyards clustered around the town of Panquehue, as well as a newer vineyard much farther west in the valley towards the ocean in a fog-influenced that was, until recently, thought to be too cold to grow wine grapes.

Winemaking at Errazuriz is overseen by Swiss winemaker Francisco Baettig with help from Purisima Vergara, and consultant Nick Goldsmith. The approach to making the wines, even at the lowest end of the portfolio, remains as it always has, one in which the expense is not necessarily correlated with the profit to be gained. Unlike many wineries in Chile, all the fruit for the wines is hand-picked in small bins and heavily sorted before fermentation. The reds typically undergo cold soaking and extended maceration, and the top reds are also fermented (at least partially) in oak. (Errazuriz profile courtesy of Vinography).
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