Gala del Vino celebrates 20-year anniversary in Santiago

Wines of Chile’s yearly Gala del Vino wine tasting was held at Casas del Lo Matta in Santiago, Chile, November 22-24. This year’s Gala commemorated the event’s 20-year anniversary, a special and momentous occasion for Chile’s wine industry.

On the evening of Thursday, November 22, the Gala’s inaugural ceremony opened the festivities with a series of important declarations, followed by the presentation of three annual awards acknowledging superior achievements throughout various sectors of Chilean wine: Industry Person of the Year, Public Person of the Year and Winery of the Year.

A group of Chile’s top government officials initiated the ceremony by formalizing an important agreement with Wines of Chile, creating a new Skills Council in wine.

Minister of Agriculture Luis Mayol, Minister of Work Evelyn Matthei, Secretary of Education Harald Beyer, and Subsecretary of the Economy Tomás Flores signed the agreement along with Wines of Chile to establish the new Council, which will boost the industry’s collective skill set through enhanced employment and educational opportunities.

The primary goal of the accord is to support and nurture Chilean agriculture, one of the country’s key industries.

René Araneda, president of Vinos de Chile, explained to the Gala audience, “We know that the principal resource of Chile is copper, but we believe that our country has the conditions to be much more than a monoexporter of this product and the development of its agricultural export industry should be protected.”

Wines of Chile also recognized Chile’s only Master Sommelier Héctor Vergara as Industry Person of the Year, while Pablo Urria, chief of Direcon Latin America, was named Public Person of the Year for his efforts to discourage Brazil’s proposed safeguard against imported wine.

The highly-anticipated Winery of the Year award went to Viña Undurraga, The award was graciously and proudly accepted by Undurraga president Maricio Picciotto, along with Executive Vice President José Yuraszeck and General Manager Ernesto Müller.

“This achievement is due to our focus on making quality wines, our constant innovation and the important contribution we have made to the sparkling wine category,” Müller tells The Drinks Business. “The work we have put in over recent years has led to an exponential increase in the quality of our wines and in the international recognition they have received.”

In delivering this award, Wines of Chile commended Undurraga for “its labor in the development of viti-viniculture, its role in the market of sparkling wine in Chile and its achievements in rejuvenating the category through the ‘Sparkling People’ campaign.”

Chile’s government ministers and Araneda then officially kicked off the 20th annual Gala del Vino with a public toast to the applauding audience.

More than 50 vineyards and culinary representatives were present at the Gala, creating a delectable tasting experience for attendees throughout the 3-night event.

Check out these snapshots below:

A truly memorable experience for all


Friendly service at every tasting table


Chile’s sparkling wines on display
A perfect opportunity to taste Chile’s diversity
Gala del Vino 2012 inaugural ceremony
Casas de Lo Matta – a beautiful venue and ambiance
A momentous occasion, signing the accord to create Chile’s new wine Skills Council
Sideways author Rex Pickett was a member of the Gala audience
A grand toast to inaugurate the Gala
Wine on stage
A beautiful evening in Santiago for a 20th anniversary celebration
Creativity in each bottle
By Gretchen Stahlman, written for Wines of Chile

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