Garage Wine Co
It all began in a garage in 2001 – Pillar and Derek's to be exact. Derek Mossman Knapp, his wife Pillar Miranda and Dr. Alvaro Pena all had many years experience in working for other wineries, but they wanted to consolidate their knowledge and make wine with their own hands, not relying on machines. They founded the company by initially making wine for family and friends, but their “hobby” grasped a firmer hold as demand exceeded supply. Then they read an article in El Mercurio newspaper about a “coveted urban myth” of wines made in a garage, so they patented the name Garage Wine Company. Their wine started to appear on Chilean restaurant's wine lists, and by 2006 export had begun to the UK and Denmark.
Garage are the polar opposite to the big companies that dominate the South American market. The grapes are sourced from various old vineyard plots from the Maule, Itata and Maipo regions of Chile, from 1 to 2 hectare parcels. They work with local vigneron growers who farm in the old traditional way, working with horse and plough like their ancestors have for generations - passing down farming wisdom through the ages. Their philosophy is one of regeneration. They revive old vineyards in marginalized Chilean communities to make sought after wines. Garage focus on old dry-farmed vines on their original rootstocks handcrafting varietal and field blend wines from mainly Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pais, Grenache and Cinsault. Tiny quantities of wine are produced because each individual plot of grapes are vinified separately and, to distinguish the wines, each bottled is labelled with an individual “Lot” number determined by its parcel and vintage. These are truly handcrafted wines; the diversity can be tasted in every bottle. Fermentation is with native yeasts, the grapes are pressed by hand by in small basket presses, punch-downs are by hand and very little new wood is used. Garage care deeply about the environment but their sustainability was born out of necessity. Unable to buy expensive tanks, which were in any case designed for mainstream fermenting, they took leftover cuts from stainless steel manufactures and upcycled them into open fermenting tanks. They were such a small concern that bottle, label and closure manufacturers did not want to work with them. Therefore they use recycled bottles, and learnt to paint/silk screen on the labels, using a custom built machine and earth-friendly inks. They seal their bottles with food-safe crayon wax, and even use recycled materials for cases. In 2009 The Garage Wine Company started the Movement of Independent Vintners with 11 other small independent winery owners, and today more then 30 small wineries spread throughout Chile are members. From these diamonds in the rough vineyards, polished gems of wines are made. These are eclectic wines with bold personalities and characters, full of concentrated juicy fruit, truly diverse and original!