Sergio Hormazábal: “We need to create the desire to have Chilean wines at the table”

There were some old bottles of wine covered in cobwebs in the basement of Sergio Hormazábals grandmother’s house…

There were some old bottles of wine covered in cobwebs in the basement of Sergio Hormazábals grandmother’s house. They had belonged to his grandfather, who had died before he was born. “I was always intrigued by them,” admits the Viña Ventisquero winemaker and president of the Chilean Association of Winemakers (Asociación de Ingenieros Agrónomos Enólogos de Chile).

From that day forward, Sergio’s love of wine grew gradually and irrevocably. His interest in nature and its seasons, plants and geography led him to study agronomy, which in turn developed into what is now his greatest passion: winemaking.

Hormazábal (37), with a Masters in Viticulture and a National Diploma in Oenology from France, has been married to Macarena Guzmán for ten years and they have two children: Pedro y Amelia. He proudly confirms that both of his children “are already sybarites”.

A love of wine

@winetalkblog Do you remember when you first discovered your vocation for wine?

@SHormazabal History and culture, along with my love of good conversation and good times together developed into a passion for wine.

@winetalkblog If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you like to be?

@SHormazabal Hmm! That’s a difficult question.  Maybe an architect or a chef.

@winetalkblog What does wine mean to you?

@SHormazabal Wine is a liquid that involves a lot of things.  It’s an x-ray of the climate, soil, grape variety, culture and the passion of the people that make it.

@winetalkblog What do you like about being a winemaker?

@SHormazabal Dedicating myself to understanding a product that is the catalyst for many socail occasions and which contributes, in most cases, to making people feel happier.

@winetalkblog What do you think is the difference between wine and good wine?

@SHormazabal Wine is fermented grape juice,  good wine is everything I just mentioned.

@winetalkblog Is there any particular winemaker that inspires you?

@SHormazabal John Duval, for his vast experience and humility. Don Aurelio Montes, for being a trend-setter. Ed Flaherty, for the natural way that he relates to wine.

@winetalkblog Which is your favourite grape variety and why?

@SHormazabal I don’t have a favourite variety.  I really like making Cabernet Sauvignon, but I like to try everything.  There are no forbidden varieties in my cellar.

@winetalkblog What would be your perfect wine moment?

@SHormazabal There are so many! In front of an open fire with cheese, ham and a Syrah from Apalta, or watching the sun set over the ocean, with seared tuna and a Pinot Noir from Casablanca.

The future of the Chilean wine industry

@winetalkblog Which types of wine are your speciality?

@SHormazabal I specialize in red wines from the Central Valley.  That’s where I learnt my trade.  Cabernet Sauvignons from Maipo are my obsession.

@winetalkblog What do you enjoy about working at Viña Ventisquero?

@SHormazabal There is a constant incentive to be innovative.  The winery respects the winemakers’ technical decisions and we are always working at a frantic pace.

@winetalkblog Which wines do you work with?

@SHormazabal I’m in charge of the Reserva reds and the Queulat brand.  I help with the winemaking of the Grey, Pangea and Vértice wines and I am developing a high end Cabernet Sauvignon.

@winetalkblog Could you describe for us your work routine during the harvest?

@SHormazabal I taste from the fermentation tanks, inspect the cellars and evaluate with the team.  In the afternoon, I plan the harvest for the following days.

@winetalkblog Do you have to supervize all the harvests?

@SHormazabal Twice a week I visit Trinidad, Peralillo and Apalta with the viticulturist to check the levels of maturity, acidity and tannins of the grapes and the general health and hydric levels of the vines.

@winetalkblog How long have you been a member of the Winemakers Association?  Why did you consider it important to join this group?

@SHormazabal In 2006 I sat the Chilean Oenologist exam so that I could participate, help and support the work of the association and that’s when I joined it.

@winetalkblog What would you like to achieve as leader of this organisation?

@SHormazabal To create a permament structure, with headquarters and a strong regional presence; and also to build a close working relationship with the other associations and the Government.

@winetalkblog What is your view of the Chilean wine industry at a global level?

@SHormazabal Chile is making a name for itself.  We are in all the supermarkets, but not always in the world’s top restaurants.

@winetalkblog What do we need to position Chile as a producer of premium wines?

@SHormazabal We need to create the desire to have Chilean wines at the table and offer more unique wines.  We need to do things very well and then communicate them effectively.

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