In the middle of the valley on top of a hill, not too far from the Andes Mountains, sits any traveler’s dream destination. For the adventurer, it comes with breathtaking views of lush vegetation and ample opportunities to explore the rugged terrain that lies below. For the creative, it’s a culmination of carefully thought out design, art, and architecture. And for the wine lover, it’s an oasis that is sure to entice and indulge all five senses.
A two-hour journey south of Santiago, VIK has pioneered a new frontier of winemaking with its holism style that combines natural, biodynamic, and organic practices. Located in Millahue in the Cachapoal Valley, VIK’s vini-viticultural concept uses science and technology to enhance each stage of the grape-growing and production process without any intervention. Thanks to the consistent Mediterranean climate of the Cachapoal Valley, VIK’s terroir is influenced by the Pacific Ocean breezes, cool winds from the Andes Mountains, and incredible sun exposure that allow its wines to boast stunning diversity and depth. And with over 11,000 acres of vines spread across 12 valleys — each with its own micro-climates — VIK has fully embraced the complexities of how fruit and terroir express themselves.
And VIK has stopped at nothing to ensure its wines carry this dynamic terroir into the glass. The winery recently pioneered a new “Barroir” project, where barrels are toasted with oak sourced from the winery’s own hills. Each barrel is built on the property to impart the true flavor of the winery’s terroir. Used and new French staves were toasted with French oak from the winery’s grove (which is over 100 years old) and, to ensure they approached the project holistically, the team only used materials from fallen trees. The result is a fine-grained oak that softens tannins, slowly transfers the flavors of the estate, and allows the wine to age and develop rare, tertiary aromas through mico-oxygen.
HOLISM IS KEY
However, as the earth gets warmer and our climate continues to rapidly change, there’s a responsibility on winemakers to implement practices that best serve the land and bring forth quality crops. For chief winemaker Cristian Vallejo, the practice of holism at VIK Winery is a hybrid of humans and nature — with environmental stewardship a priority. “We have to [be] very aware and to take care in every step of the process of making our wines. We’ve borrowed concepts from organic, natural, and biodynamic winemaking to create our own holistic style,” Vallejo said during a recent Instagram live session. “Our wines don’t have intervention. There are no add-ins, no filtration, or wild yeast. The only thing I’m using that isn’t from here are the barrels.”
VIK’s five main grape varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah — were all planted intentionally after careful soil and weather exposure studies were performed in many of the valleys. From these grapes, VIK produces four red blends: Icon VIK (a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot), Milla Cala (a Chilean Bordeaux blend), La Belle, a New World-style blend of four varieties that change every year, (though usually containing Cabernet Sauvignon & Carménère) and La Piu Belle Rosé.
While each of these wines is available for sale within the United States, wine lovers can purchase them individually or as a collection on VIK’s website: www.vikwine.com. When visiting the winery, guests not only have the opportunity to experience exclusive barrel tastings and dynamic gastronomy, but may also take in the team’s jaw-dropping architecture that totally redefines the traditional wine tour as we know it.
But if you’re not ready to book your flight to Chile just yet, don’t worry! VIK offers a stunning 360-degree tour of the property right from the comfort of your home. From a personal, up-close view of one of its 22 artistic suites, to the common areas and various amenities available on the property, VIK gives you the chance to experience what an all-around visit would look and feel like.
What makes the property extraordinary, aside from the sleek design of its architecture, is the winery, which includes a Water Plaza, Wine Cellar, and the Pavilion Restaurant , which serves “garden to table” cuisine. The Barrel Room is a 117-foot-long hallway that leads to the Tasting Room, which offers visitors a taste of VIK’s three main blends, along with a gorgeous view of the vineyard from which the grapes are harvested.
Within the main building, known as the Retreat, there is also the Milla Milla Restaurant, which offers a stunning 360-degree overlook of the mountainous landscape as well as locally sourced cuisine that pairs perfectly with VIK wines.
SUSTAINABILITY OVER EVERYTHING
For the last 13 years, Chilean scientists have been working diligently to ensure that the biodiversity of Chile is conserved as the wine sector continues to grow and thrive. Through extensive and ongoing research, the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB) and the Austral University of Chile are providing wineries like VIK with best practices on vineyard design, vineyard management, and impact models that can help the team prepare for the months and years ahead.
As a member of Chile’s Wine, Climate Change, and Biodiversity program, VIK is not only committed to practicing sustainable winemaking by using natural pesticides, but also upholds the native forest, flora, and fauna that surround and support its vineyards. The implementation of the phytosanitary program allows for the use of organic products (like natural pesticides) that do not leave residue on the vines and have a very low impact on the environment. To take its commitment to environmental stewardship a step further, VIK is on the verge of obtaining a very important accreditation — one that will undoubtedly make the brand a global leader in winemaking.
Because the winery sits on 11,000 acres of native forest, VIK is petitioning, under the International Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), that 100 percent of the electricity it uses comes from renewable energy sources. In partnership with a regional energy supplier, this groundbreaking recognition will determine that the power supply comes from clean, non-polluting origins.
From its modern décor and forward-thinking technology to the extreme care that is taken to preserve and protect the land, VIK has created an unforgettable experience for travelers who are coming from all corners of the world. Its award-winning wines are a result of the hard work, attention to detail, and innovation that will change the wine industry forever.
This article is sponsored by VIK.