Alexander Vik had a dream
To create the best wine in South America. Vik assembled an expert team of oenologists, climatologists, geologists, viticulturists and onomists to find the ideal site in South America to produce his dream wine. They settled on a spot about two hours south of Santiago, across the mountains from Apalta, home of Montes and Casa Lapostolle. It was nearly 11,000-acres of virgin wine territory in the fortuitously named Millahue (mee YAH who way) Valley, an indigenous people’s name for “place of gold.”
Vik had the excellent judgment to put Patrick Valette in charge of the project Patrick has had extensive experience as a winery owner, viticulturist, winemaker and consulting enologist in France, California, Uruguay, Ribera del Duero and Chile. In addition to being CEO of Vik, he also owns Château de Rougérie in Entre Deux Mers. The Vik winery produces three wines.
Strict Selection of Vineards and Grapes
Before they bought the property, they got permission from the owners to investigate the soils, taking over 4,000 samples.They carefully mapped those soils to determine what clones of what grape varieties on what roots stocks would be planted where.Note that rootstocks were part of the equation.Most vines in Chile are planted on their own roots, since Chile’s physical isolation helped it avoid the phylloxera epidemic that decimated thevitis viniferavines of Europe in the late 1800s.Valette explains that rootstock selection allows them to adapt to their wonderful variety of soil types, to control vigor and adapt to water availability.
Valette said that he personally had to record the soil profiles for the property, noting that it was not an easy task for him, but crucial to the success of the project.They eventually mapped the best plots for planting.For each plot they mapped the rootstocks, then the grape varieties, then the clones of each variety.The grapes planted are those you might expect from someone who learned to make wine in Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and unexpectedly, Syrah.
To date, they have planted about 900 acres of vines.Think about it:900 acres in less than 10 years. Turns out only about 20 percent of the grape production is chosen for the Vik wine.The remainder is sold to other wineries. Over time they hope to increase the production of Vik wine, and he wants the vines he will use for that increased production to be the same age as the vines he is currently using for Vik.