CHILE: Terroir study yields dividends for Viña Casa Silva

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Scientists in Chile claim they have pinpointed the optimum conditions for growing several grape varieties, including Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, in a research project with wine group Viña Casa Silva.

Scientists from the University of Talca have spent three years examining the "DNA" of land owned by Viña Casa Silva to uncover the best conditions for different grape varieties.

Viña Casa Silva said this week the results mean it can produce a "blueprint" of optimum elements required to make the best quality wines from Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Viognier and Petit Verdot grapes.

"For a winemaker this is the holy grail," said Viña Casa Silva head winemaker Mario Geisse.

"We are now able to select precise mini-parcels of each variety for our best wines, adapt our vineyard management according to the needs of each individual plot and micro-vinify to get the best possible quality wines."

Mario Pablo Silva, managing director of family-owned Viña Casa Silva, said: "The concept of terroir is understood across the wine world, and in Chile the process of mapping the best vineyard locations to the most suitable varietals has advanced exponentially in the last ten years.

"However at Viña Casa Silva we wanted to go a step further: to identify and understand the 'DNA' of individual land parcels to explain, for example, why one micro-terroir plot in our Los Lingues estate produces superior Carmenère to the plot right next to it."

It is believed the research could benefit wineries around the world.

Lead researcher professor Yerko Moreno, from the University of Talca, said: "Our studies identified a number of influencing factors within the vineyard, of which four are the most significant: the average temperature during January; the amount and duration of rain during the season, which is particularly important for Carmenère, the volumetric moisture content of the soil and the depth of root exploration." 


Sectors: Wine

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