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Viña Casa Silva gives positive report

Just seven days after the big earthquake hit Chile, Viña Casa Silva reported it was 100% operational again. Harvesting began less than 48 hours after the quake and bottling started 72 hours after that. The cellar suffered damage that has required a lot of re-organization but luckily it is all fixable.

There are still aftershocks that, according to experts, could last for another month or two, but they are of course much weaker than the 8.8 quake, and also shorter. Buildings that resisted the big quake should not suffer from the aftershocks.

Mario Pablo Silva, the company’s MD says:  “We are doing our best to keep working which is the key for a quick recovery for everyone in Chile.  Although our cellar - the oldest in Colchagua - was hit, it survived and happily the Silva family and all our employees are safe. We are now 100% operational and very busy in the vineyards with this year’s harvest.”

In the vineyards this week, Mario Geisse, the company’s head winemaker says: We’ve just completed our second week harvesting at Viña Casa Silva and despite the devastating disaster two weeks ago the potential for 2010 is looking very promising.

We started picking two days after the quake, initially picking the Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris and we are currently harvesting Viognier and Chardonnay. The only red variety which we began harvesting this week is Pinot Noir.

“We have had very fresh mornings and a few hours of daytime sunshine. The nights have been quite cold which we are thankful for at this stage, as it will help preserve the grapes’ fruitiness and acidity.  The white wines during the fermentation are showing very good pH levels, with very good fruit in the first tastings.

“This is a very good year for plant health, particularly amongst the varieties that we haven’t yet picked.  Fruit quality is high, and we are particularly excited about our Syrah, Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot this year. We also expect to pick excellent quality Merlot in the cooler locations, for example in our vineyards in Paredones, just 6km from the coast.

“Regarding the vines, because they are climbing plants with very flexible roots and rootlets, our initial observations, as expected, are that vine stability has not been affected by the quake.

“The grapes are healthy and the vineyards look beautiful, full of colour, red, black and yellow-gold. We are very thankful to be surrounded by stunning beautiful countryside at this time in the Colchagua valley.”

Mario Pablo Silva

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1 March 2010 - Felicity Murray