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Alberto Eckholt: New Chief Winemaker at Viña Caliterra

“I always wanted to be a creator of something. I fell in love with Oenology because it allows you to create a product from its origin and follow it to the end of its journey. That moment, when a bottle of wine is uncorked, is magical because wine has the power to bring people together, inspire conversations and transmit its own history and also my experience as a winemaker.”

Born in Santiago de Chile in 1985, Alberto studied Agricultural Engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, motivated by his love for the countryside and the land. There he discovered that Oenology brought together everything he was passionate about: travel, cooking and pairings, sharing with the family around good food and the richness of different cultures.

Throughout his career, Alberto has toured different wine regions and participated in numerous grape harvests. One of his first trips was to Europe in 2010, which marked his career: “During my university studies I applied for an internship in France and, despite being one of the most sought-after internships, I managed to be accepted and was able to share an unforgettable month at Château de Cranne, a family winery in Bordeaux, in which its owners transferred to me that passion and deeply rooted and unique cultural tradition, which is only found in France. All of that captivated me and gave meaning to my studies at that time.”

After completing harvests in Bordeaux, Colchagua and Limarí between 2009 and 2010, Alberto led the harvests of Viña Montes as Chief Winemaker of the Apalta Winery, being in charge of the Premium winery and supervising all the operational and oenological processes related to the production of high-end wines. “Montes paved the way for me in this industry and instilled in me the rigor of work, to understand wine from the field, to worry about every detail and the importance of tasting as a tool with a view to perfection and high quality.”

From Colchagua he emigrated to the Napa Valley in 2012, being the Winemaker and Project Manager of Viña Montes USA, leading an unprecedented project in some of the best terroirs in California (Napa, Paso Robles, Santa Rita Hills). “Living in Napa allowed me to discover and experience a business vision that was very different from the Chilean one, with a focus on high-end wines, direct sales to the consumer, and tourism experiences of another level.”

In addition to the harvests in the northern hemisphere in August 2013 and 2014, he carried out some harvests in Mendoza with Viña Kaiken (part of Viña Montes), totaling two harvests per year. It was in this instance that he delved into the Malbec variety and mountain range wines, allowing him to experience and better understand the importance of high-altitude terroir, its effects on the different varieties, and how to make high-end Malbec.

Starting in 2015 and for two years, Alberto was Winemaker and Commercial Director of Andes Beverages, an innovative wine company and leader in the development and export of private brands for the Asian market, during which time he also harvested in the French region of the Burgundy. In parallel, he served as the Winemaker and Viticulturist of Viña Nerkihue, participating in its brand building, products, strategies, sales and marketing.

In 2018, Luis Felipe Edwards landed at the family vineyard in Colchagua, being winemaker of the Reserva, Gran Reserva and Premium ranges, of which he values the high efficiency of all its production processes. “I learned to value the importance of technology and its fundamental role in the efficiency of processes and the quality of the wines”. But in addition, he had the opportunity to work with two great mentors of his career, the oenological advisers Philippe Melka and Matt Thompson “from whom I learned to better understand the harvest times of each variety, to identify and define vinification plots and to improve the way to taste the components to create blends of expressive, elegant and outstanding wines.”

Alberto joined Viña Caliterra at the beginning of 2023 thanks to his extensive winemaking experience, seeking to contribute to its growth, promoting the modernization of the winery with a focus on efficiency, technology and quality, all accompanied by a very special vision: “I want to contribute to this new stage of the vineyard with a deep sense of origin, of terroir, continuing the path of the sustainable philosophy that distinguishes it, where its wines always express this magical place that everyone talks about, highlighting its unique origin within the Colchagua Valley.”

We wish Alberto all the luck in this new challenge. We are sure that his extensive oenological experience will be a great contribution so that Viña Caliterra can continue operating under his unique seal , focus on efficiency and sustainable philosophy.

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