Chilean Wine People: the stories behind the quake

Dear Cachando Chile Readers…

I will be pretty much off-line for the next few days as I take some time to visit the wineries in the areas most affected by Chile’s recent earthquake.

As many of you know, I work in Chile’s wine industry, writing about and translating for many of the country’s wineries. As I’m sure most of you also know, many of the wineries south of Santiago were badly affected by the recent earthquake. Fortunately, this tragedy happened at the best least worst time of the year, just prior to harvest, when most of the previous season’s wine had been sold but the harvest had not yet begun. In other words, precisely at the moment when there was the least amount of wine in the cellars to be lost. There has been material damage to the bodegas–most of which is insured–although the hardest hit were the workers, many of whom lost their homes on Saturday–and still showed up for work on Monday. These are Chile’s true heroes. These are the people who show the true Chilean spirit, those with an attitude that says, “Damn that sucked, now where do I start cleaning up?”

I will spend the next several days beginning a project that will certainly go on for months to come, in which I–and others–will interview the people of Chile’s wine country and publish their stories and photographs on the Wines of Chile web site. You too will also be hearing plenty in the days and weeks to come.

I will post from the field if and when I can, but will certainly be tweeting about the experience in the Colchagua, Curicó, and Maule Valley wine regions. Wish me luck and let’s all hope the rain holds off for another month. Too many people are still out there sleeping in tents.

7 responses to “Chilean Wine People: the stories behind the quake

  1. Margaret – good luck on your travels. I am sure it will be a humbling experience. Please pass on to those you meet, as best you can, the heartfelt thoughts and support of the British wine trade. We can only begin to imagine the difficulties many face in getting back to some sense of normality, but we are thinking of them all. All best Michael at Wines of Chile UK

  2. Thank you Michael. We spent the night at Cono Sur + woke uo several times to aftershocks-much stronger here than in Santiago. Spent the morning w/ Patricio Cornejo-the jefe bodega who was 1st to arrive. Riveting story w/ happy ending…
    Santa Cruz is pretty heartbreaking, but the people are upbeat and already back to a “normal” life!

  3. Hola Amiga, a question comes to mind- other than the “regular channels” (Techno para Chile, etc), is there any way that those of us in the biz can channel some donations directly to the workers who need help rebuilding? I would like to make a donation.
    Best of luck, Joan

  4. I have a professor friend who is going to study the government’s response to the earthquake in Lota. Sounds like you are doing something similar. I wish you the best of luck!

  5. Hi Sara-
    Just got back… incredible experience. I didn’t go as far south as Lota, but did get to Constitución, and what I saw along the way was frankly, hard to believe. I’ll be writing it up with pictures soon.

  6. Hello to Margaret and Joan,

    Just found your blog, and wanted to let you and your friend know that Wines of Chile has just partnered with the Levantando Chile Fund (a fund started by a Chilean nonprofit here in Santiago called NESsT) to raise funds for the vineyard workers and their families. I will try to post the donation link here: http://www.nesst.org/give/levantandochile.asp. You can also connect with Levantando Chile Fund on Facebook. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi Kate- Thanks for the update. I work for Wines of Chile and we have just put a banner up across the home page (www.winesofchile.org) that links to NESsT as well…
    There is definitely much need and all help will be appreciated!

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