I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Viña Alpa during the grape harvest. Viña Alpa is a small estate producer in the Coquimbo region of Chile. This region is mostly known for Pisco production, but Viña Alpa focuses on red grapes such as Syrah, Carménère, and also has some small plots of Grenache and Mourvèdre.
Viña Alpa participates in the World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms program to recruit volunteers. For this year’s harvest, there were six of us volunteering. It was hard work, but the scenery was gorgeous. We worked up and down the rows to hand snip the grape bunches off of the vine. As we collected the grapes, the full buckets were transported up to the barn, where they were destemmed and crushed. The juice and skins were funneled directly into tanks to begin fermenting.
Winemaker Arnaud Faupin shared his expertise with us and taught us how to monitor the fermentation by measuring the temperature and the density. The vineyard is organic and the wine-making is done with minimal use of electricity and machinery. The results of this artisanal process are unique and delicious small batch wines, only available in Chile.