The history of Chilean wine begins in 1851, when a young Silvestre Ochagavía sparked a revolution in national winemaking by planting the first French vines in Santiago de Chile.
A studious mind, he picked up every secret and mystery of the vineyards in France, eager to apply this newly-acquired knowledge and replicate a model of perfection.
Before the independence of Chile, Silvestre Ochagavia Echazarreta orders the construction of the Casona Lo Ochagavia estate house in the heart of the city of Santiago. 50 years later, the luxurious colonial mansion welcomes the birth of Don Silvestre, the owner’s grandson and future founder of Viña Ochagavia.
First Government Junta in Chile. September 18 was declared day of independence and has been celebrated as national holiday ever since.
The Casona Lo Ochagavia is used as headquarters and training camp for the Liberation Army under the command of José de San Martín.
Birth year of Silvestre Ochagavia Errazuriz, better known as Don Silvestre and founder of Viña Ochagavia.
Once in the possession of a law degree and with a deep passion for wine, Don Silvestre decides to engage in politics and takes on the challenge of becoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs under the administration of President Manuel Bulnes. The position requires him to travel on numerous occasions to the Old Continent, where he decides to settle down and make a home in Bordeaux, France.
Ya con título de abogado profesional y una profunda pasión por el vino, Don Silvestre decide dedicar su vida a la política, y acepta el desafío de convertirse en Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores bajo el gobierno de Manuel Bulnes. Su trabajo le exige tener que viajar en muchas ocasiones al viejo continente, donde posteriormente toma la decisión de quedarse a vivir en Bordeaux, Francia.
In addition to his political obligations, Don Silvestre cultivates his interest in the world of wine. For three years, he studies the big differences between the viticultural practices used in Chile and France, and becomes familiar with the great variety of cultivars grown in different terroirs.
After four years studying with French enologists, Don Silvestre decides to return to Chile and apply the knowledge and the techniques learned in the Ochagavia estates. He brings with him a group of seasoned specialists together with the first cuttings of fine Bordeaux varieties.
The year of the foundation of Viña Ochagavia. The first grapes of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are harvested, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The French expert Joseph Bertrand joins the winery and quickly becomes Don Silvestre’s right-hand man.
Following the example set by Don Silvestre, new wineries begin to emerge in Chile and production of Bordeaux varieties becomes a professional activity. Many realize how well the new cultivars adapt to the Chilean fields and quickly understand the central zone’s potential for growing quality wines.
The phylloxera pest ravages the grapevines of most European vineyards. Chile remains free of the pest and becomes a safe haven that attracts several European winemakers in search of new opportunities.
A law restricting the production and sale of alcoholic beverages is enacted during the administration of President Arturo Alessandri Palma. To cope with the new legislation, wineries begin to export their products.
The CWB group led by the Larrain family aquires Viña Ochagavia.
Viña Ochagavia renews its image and portfolio, with focus on enhancing the importance of the father of Chilean viticulture, Don Silvestre Ochagavía.
Today, Viña Ochagavia sells its wines in more than 30 countries around the world. A true achievement for Don Silvestre, who always believed in the potential of this small corner of the southern hemisphere to produce wines that would delight the world.