The Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI) in Pencahuie in the Maule Valley, focuses on innovation in both viticulture and winemaking.
The expansive purpose-built facility houses a laboratory with state-of-the art equipment, an experimental winery with the capacity to vinify 200 tons of grapes, tasting rooms and a lecture room.
“Analysing different vinifications of the same grape variety from different parts of the country will help to drive research into the question of taste; which flavour and aroma compounds are most attractive to drinkers and why?” said Concha y Toro’s senior viticultural manager Carlos Valdivia.
“This in turn will influence the plantings and winemaking strategies the company takes in the future,” Valdivia added.
The centre also features 78 hectares of nursery vineyards, a project that began 15 years ago and now has the ability to yield up to two million plants a year.
There are over 2,000 combinations of rootstocks and clones possible within the nursery, which is managed by Valdivia.
Having opened last month, the CRI will conduct research into genetic material, viticulture, winemaking processes and product design in a bid to improve the efficiency of grape growing and winemaking across the country.
“This project highlights Concha y Toro’s commitment to the long-term health of our country’s wine industry.
“Our goal is to support advancements in plant production, improving not only the quality of our vines, but also the performance of grape growers in the area.
“It has huge implications for our industry, and will lead to new and heightened standards of excellence and the enhanced ability to compete”, said Eduardo Guilisasti, CEO of Concha y Toro.
The CRI has partnered with UC Davis in California and with the Mercier Groupe, France’s largest vine producer, on the project.
“We wanted to contribute to the growth and development of the industry. To do this, we will promote the results and good practices so they can be adopted by the industry”, said Gerard Casaubon, director of the CRI.
The decision to locate the centre within a 1,000-hectare vineyard a considerable distance from Santiago was deliberate as the company believes that the future of the Chilean wine industry lies down south rather than in the drought-riddled north.
Source | The Drinks Business.