GWCo History 101 - Twenty years in a two minute read
Garage Wine began quite literally in Pilar and Derek’s Garage. After half a dozen vintages making wine for an informal market of family and friends, it began exporting to UK & Denmark in 2006
After a few years in Maipo a renowned bottle of Cabernet
GWCo makes wines from a series of individual parcels, small lots / bottlings of 8 -22 barrels that include a series of dry-farmed field-blends of Carignan, Garnacha, Monastrell, País, Cinsault and Cab Franc grown on pre-phylloxera rootstock with small farmers in the Maule and Itata. Each wine is from a 1-2 hectare parcel in a different place: Bagual, Caliboro, Coelemu, Guarilihue, Loncomilla, Portezuelo, Puico, Ranquil, Sauzal, Truquilemu...
Over the years working in the community we have raised a veritable posse of vineyard hands whose skills are working the vineyards the old way / the traditional way-- originario. We cultivate vineyards with small vigneron partners who work with horse and plough as his family has done for generations. Some of the parcels, where the next generation moved to the city, we have opted to rent long-term creating more work for the local hands who do want to stay on the farm.
The vineyards are on the old Coastal Range of mountains closer to the Pacific -- Chile's other mountains. These are older and cooled more slowly so they have granitic soils, many with intrusions and cracks for roots to get deep down into. When GWCo. speaks of the provenance of our wines however we mean more than just the geology of the terroir. This is a good start, but we are convinced the farming practices that have evolved over generations have as much to do with the wines’ personalities as the soils. The regeneration of the vineyards long since neglected depends upon this farming.
GWCo. also makes an old-vine Cab Franc (old bush head vines) and a Cab Sauv blend in the Maule as well as two Cabs mountain-grown in the Maipo where the firm began in 2003.
All the wines are made by hand with native yeasts in small tanks, punched down manually and pressed out in a small basket press. GWCo is still very much a DIY operation and we still tow much of the crop back to the winery in trailers behind trusty pickup trucks 2,ooo kilos at a time.
Single Ferment Series Wines
Pais & Cinsault in the Secano Interior, the cradle of the original Chilean viticulture, have been forever the victim of commodity pricing. When GWCo saw it’s Carignan growers being paid paltry sums for their other fruit we began acquiring small bits from various farmers to experiment. From the beginning, we paid bonafide prices that would allow for the traditional field works to cultivate the soil properly to continue into the future. Commercial bottlings of “Single Ferments” began with serendipity when we simply could not resist not one but three small bits of Cinsault. And then promptly plain ran out of tanks to ferment them in. With nowhere to put all three, we simply stacked the second bit of newly harvested fruit on top of the first already fermenting—and then the third on top of both, creating one single fermentation from the fruit of three farms. We adopted the same technique with Pais and subsequently named both wines: Single Ferment Series.