Since 2012, Santa Carolina has been developing Bloque Herencia, an ambitious R&D project aimed to recover the world’s sole remaining DNA of pre-phylloxera old vitis vinifera material that arrived in Chile between colonial times and the 19th century.
As explained by Andrés Caballero, Winemaker Director at Santa Carolina, Bloque Herencia seeks to enhance the diversity of the project components in order to make less monotonous wines. “Our goal is to produce wines of multi-layered complexity. Ultimately, this will be the characteristic our consumers will recognize in and remember about our wines,” he added.
This is a pioneering approach in Chile, both in the way the project has been conducted and regarding the information and contents obtained. “Not only are we bestowing a heritage for our country and wine industry because the grapevine material collected through the project has helped broaden the genetic variability pool available in Chile, but we are also helping increase the dependability of nurseries’ vine material supply. We already started sharing the recovered material with Wines of Chile,” Andrés commented.
This project focuses on climate change as well. At present, Santa Carolina’s winemaking team signed a partnership agreement with Chilean university Arturo Prat to develop the Desert Wines project to boost the grape varieties grown in the Atacama Desert: Tamarugal – Chile’s only native grape varietal-, País, and Gros Colman, and to refine winemaking techniques. In addition, trials with other traditional varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Malbec will be carried out next year to analyze how climate change affects the different varieties in extreme climate areas.