Story of the Semillón - Fieldcraft
The Secano Interior, or dry-farmed interior, is the cradle of Chilean viticulture dating back to the 1500’s. Revived attention in wines from what are some of the oldest pre-phyloxera vines on the planet has led to interest and investment, but the machinations of the modern world do not always mesh with the gearing of the old.
At Garage Wine Co. we have worked with small farmers in the Secano Interior ploughing the vines and cultivating the land for years now. We have built our small firm together. The vignerons’ families have dry-farmed the Secano since colonial times, and not just their vineyards, but mixed farms of heritage seed wheat, free-range livestock, and local market gardening. Yet as South American wine exports have boomed over the last quarter century, it has grown increasingly difficult for these small growers to sell their grapes at a proper price.
Just imagine such old vineyards passed down over generations, imagine them today suffering from neglect. Not because they stopped making wonderful wine, but because the vineyards no longer connected with the modern world. They are too small to fill a truck, too far away from a paved road. They cannot be worked with a tractor nor can they be picked by a machine.
Modern buyers want more for less and they would have the small modernise: ie spray instead of cultivate, scale instead of focus, and above all reduce the cost of labour. But the labour is precisely where you find the wisdom of farming passed down through the years: the fieldcraft if you will.
At the Garage Wine Co. we think the wine trade is stronger with the small farmers in it—and the wines are too. In a world that wants more sustainably grown foods, these farmers have a 400+ year head-start.