Ayllu Dazzles with Seven New Varietals at the VII Toconao Harvest Festival
Thousands of people visited Toconao to enjoy the VII Harvest Festival. Visitors had the opportunity to enjoy Ayllu high-altitude wines, including Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Malbec, Moscatel, the traditional varietal País and the newly unveiled Sauvignon Gris.
The latest version of this family and cultural festival, which highlights the value of Lickanantay roots around the wine Ayllu, attracted many visitors. Ayllu wines are made at over 2,450 meters above sea level by Atacameñan residents through a project that was launched 10 years ago as part of the SQM Atacama Tierra Fértil Program with farmers from communities located throughout the Salar de Atacama basin.
Wilfredo Cruz Muraña, the Manager of the Lickanantay High-Altitude Winemakers’ Cooperative Working Group, offered positive feedback on the cultural festival, explaining, “We presented the 2018 vintage, which consists of seven varietals that we produced as a cooperative. We have made significant progress. We began with Moscatel and País ten years ago, and the SQM Atacama Tierra Fértil Program gave us the opportunity to include new varietals.”
Cruz Muraña added, “We wanted to encourage families from throughout the region to participate. They tasted and purchased Ayllu wines and experienced the food offerings, which highlighted Atacameñan cuisine. There was also a local fair with artisans and farmers from San Pedro de Atacama, Toconao, Camar, Socaire, Río Grande and Talabre.”
“We are very proud because this event allowed us to bring the local product to the community. It is a cosmic wine that travels around the world. I was very happy to see that we welcomed tourists from Germany, England, France, Brazil, Argentina and other countries this year,” noted the cooperative’s Chief Enologist, Roberto Carrancá.
This year the cooperative added the seminars and tastings “Chile and Its Wines” and “High-Altitude Wines,” which were very well received by the attendees.
In the context of the SQM program Atacama Tierra Fértil, a group of 19 farmers from Celeste, Toconao, San Pedro de Atacama and Socaire produce wine at 2,400 meters above sea level. This is the seventh harvest of Ayllu wine. The product’s name means ‘community’ in Kunza, and it is made under non-traditional conditions using modern techniques and drawing on the advice of national and international experts.
“We are very proud of the progress that the farmers have made and of their tenacity. We began to make this dream come true ten years ago. Today it is a mature project in which every vintner has made a commitment to continue to strengthen this project, which has various attributes that make it unique,” explained SQM’s Technology, Communities and Environmental Senior Vice President, Alejandro Bucher.
Ayllu is a signature wine. Each label bears the number of square meters of the vineyard, the number of grape vines on the property, bottles produced per year and the number of meters above sea level at which the wine is produced. It also includes the geographic coordinates of the vineyard so that the client knows the precise geographic origin of the wine that they are enjoying. These characteristics have made it an attractive choice for hotels and restaurants throughout the Antofagasta Region.