(SAUSALITO, CA) June, 2017 – Vine Connections, importer of high-end boutique wineries from South America and premium sake from Japan, has partnered with GuildSomm, a nonprofit international membership organization for sommeliers and wine professionals, to help develop their education program on Chile.
Almost 20 years ago, Vine Connections led the Argentina fine wine revolution and has positioned itself as a national educator and importer for Chile’s fine wine revolution. They will now be partnering with GuildSomm as the official educational partner for their Chilean Masterclasses this summer as well as GuildSomm’s written and video Chilean educational materials for their members. The GuildSomm Chilean Wine Masterclass US Tour will kick off July, 2017 and will be taught by GuildSomm President and Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth. Geoff will share the insights he gained recently while exploring the many Chilean wine regions, and he will share selections that he thinks could redefine the world’s sixth largest wine producing country for the next generation.
Vine Connections has been on the frontier of Chile’s fine wine revolution since 2013, when co-founders Nick Ramkowsky and Ed Lehrman invested in the first ever, and still the only, appellation-based Chilean portfolio in the U.S. They gave the portfolio the moniker, “The New Chile”, as the 7 family-owned wineries and 10 brands in the portfolio represent the cutting edge of innovation and represent the current evolution of their respective appellations of origin.
From North to South, Vine Connections’ “The New Chile” portfolio is emblematic of the viticultural diversity and innovation of Chile. Mayu, in the dry northern desert of Elqui Valley, is crafting elegant and dynamic still wines out of old vine Pedro Ximenez grapes that were previously used in pisco production. Clos des Fous and Garcia + Schwaderer are coaxing beautiful examples of old vine Cinsault and Carignan from the red granite, coastal hills of the historic Itata and Maule Valleys. Amayna and Boya are crafting world class cool climate Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc in the young Leyda Valley. In Maipo, Aquitana is taking a French/Chilean super team of wine partners and producing complex and balanced Cabernet Sauvignon wines that represent the singular expression of this unique terroir located in Santiago City. And in Maule, J. Bouchon is resurrecting and experimenting with Chile’s oldest varietal, Pais.
Additionally, Casa Silva from “The New Chile” portfolio is pioneering Andean plantings of Carmenere in the Los Lingues sub-region of the Colchagua Valley. With the colluvial soils and diurnal temperature shifts around these new sites, Casa Silva is showing success with this notoriously finicky grape by producing Carmenere that is rich in fruit and spice without the strong herbaceous flavors that come from growing this grape in the wrong location. Casa Silva is also a leader in the southernmost Osorno region of Patagonia and is developing a tiny-production Lago Ranco brand based on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grown next to this beautiful southern lake.
“If you haven’t been keeping up with Chile and what’s happened in last 5 years, I think it’s definitely a place to reevaluate because it’s moving fast and things are developing in ways that were definitely not the case a decade ago,” says GuildSomm President and Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth.
“Unless you spend a lot of time on the ground in Chile like we do, it can be hard to understand the real-time evolution that Chile is experiencing and the major jumps in quality and diversity that are happening recently,” says Ed Lehrman, co-founder and Managing Partner of Vine Connections. “We’re working tirelessly to update the perception of Chilean wines in the U.S. and to show the fine wine communities that incredibly interesting things are happening down there. Our partnership with GuildSomm proves that our hard work is paying off and that sommeliers are starting to take notice.”
Each GuildSomm Masterclass will provide an in-depth education on the latest wines and regions across Chile, including a selection of wines from both within and outside the Vine Connections portfolio. Classes will be taught by GuildSomm President and Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth. The program will include a July 2017 release of a GuildSomm Chilean wine educational video and a U.S. Masterclass Tour which kicks off July 10th in Austin, Texas and continues in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, and Boulder. GuildSomm provides its 10,000 member network with digital resources for the most extensive, up-to-date international wine education available.
Founded in 1999 by Ed Lehrman and Nick Ramkowsky, Vine Connections pioneered the first nationally imported portfolio of artisan wines from Argentina and soon after introduced the US to a premium selection of Japanese ginjo sake. In 2013, they launched “The New Chile,” a diverse, high-quality, appellation-based portfolio of boutique Chilean wine. The company represents the largest portfolio of boutique Argentine and Chilean wineries in the United States with almost 70 wines and 20 brands produced by some of South America’s most highly regarded winemakers and viticulturists. Their small domestic portfolio is a collection of some of California’s most exciting people-driven wines. Vine Connections also represents 16 of Japan’s finest sake breweries that produce some of the world’s best artisan chilled sake. Vine Connections is headquartered in Sausalito, California.
GuildSomm is a nonprofit international membership organization for sommeliers and wine professionals that promotes education, collaboration, and healthy debate while maintaining the key values of the sommelier profession: integrity, humility, and hospitality. We’re here to help you expand your knowledge of the wine world, network, and stay up-to-date on industry news and trends. Our partner organization SommFoundation helps GuildSomm members meet their educational goals through scholarships and enrichment trips. Feature articles, podcasts, and videos are publicly available and cover varied topics on the world of wine. For members, we have additional in-depth educational materials, forums for discussion, events, and much more.