Vinos Gustavo Martinez
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Country of Origin: Chile
Location: Itata Valley
People: Gustavo Martínez, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
The Itata Valley is one of the oldest vine growing areas in Chile, dating its viticulture back to 1551 when the first vines of País and Moscatel de Alejandría were planted by Spanish missionaries. The name Itata means "abundant grazing" in Mapudungun, the language spoken by the Mapuche. The area is a bastion of centuries-old bush vines grown on granite soil and mostly ungrafted. Itata's mild climate with Pacific Ocean influences makes it easy for vigneron to farm organically without irrigation. Artisan producers, many working naturally in the vineyard and cellar, are flocking to Itata. Cue Gustavo Martínez.
Gustavo Martínez is a natural winemaker intent on showcasing the awesome potential of Itata's unique vines and terroir. He works with 5 families of small vine growers who cultivate their soils with animals or by hand and take care of their vineyards without the use of chemicals. All of the cuvées are single varieties from single vineyards to showcase the terroir. In the cellar, his techniques resemble those before mass industrialization and are locally referred to as the "pipeño style," destemming grapes using a zaranda hand destemmer and fermenting wines spontaneously with indigenous yeast. In additon, the wines are not filtered, fined, or stabilized. A low amount of sulfites (30ppm to 0ppm) is added during vinification.
Gustavo cut his teeth working with two of Chile's current heavy day hitters: Luis Antoine Luyt and Roberto Henriquez (2013-2014). Before working alongside them, he started building his network of growers in 2008 working as a technical advisor for a government funded program helping vine growers across the Itata Valley. That network really came in handy in 2015 when he started making his own wine in Florida, Chile. Florida geographically belongs to the Bio Bío region but from a winemaking standpoint is considered Itata due to the granite composition of the soil.