Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thomson Sisters as Zorzal Winelords in the Uco Valley, Mendoza

In November the Three Thomson Sisters escaped the cold temperatures in Canada to the Valle de Uco just south of Mendoza in Argentina. The desert like conditions of this Valley which touts to have over 300 days of sunshine are ideal for the wine production. The grapes benefit from the Andean winds to ward off disease so chemicals are not in the formula for Zorzal's world renown wines. This means that winemakers Juan Pablo and Matias Michelini are able to stay the course to produce Bio Wines!  Water supply too can be a problem but the well on the property means a constant source of water for the growing of grapes - we even have our own nursery of saplings!
 As avantgarde winemakers, the Michelini brothers convinced a local cement company to make the "EGG" vats. The egg shape creates a natural flow of fluid so the wines are constantly in touch with the skins to give it that rich flavour. This technology was developed in France and European wineries are lucky to have 1 or 2 Eggs, We have 10!! The high altitude of this valley also means more drastic changes in temperature adding to the complexity of the wines.
I say WE because Glenys and I are shareholders in Zorzal Canada and thus this trip was to look at our investment. Even though the winery is still in its infancy stage (2008) we were thrilled to talk to Juan Pablo and Gerardo Michelini about their dream - and soon it became our dream as well.

As shareholders we nestled into the rustic apartment on the property for one week. We spent time with Juampe tasting his experimental wines, we scouted out some property for potential development with Gerardo and enjoyed a few gourmet meals at other wineries as Zorzal Shareholders. We even enjoyed a round of golf at the Tupungato Winelands, losing only 2 balls!

Although the original plans for Zorzal included a restaurant and a few apartments for guests and shareholders, the main focus with new investment money is to expand the bodega as we are bursting at the seams, buy more eggs as consumer demand is for more fruit forward and less oak and invest in our own bottling machine to maintain quality. Only 5 hectares of Zorzal land is planted and there is another 60 hectares for vineyards  to be developed over time.  We have so much potential as the Uco Valley of Mendoza is likened to the Napa Valley in California. Great potential for tourism!

We reluctantly packed our bags for home, leaving behind a few little personal touches from Canada in the Zorzal apartment. Gracias to Mauricio, Juan Pablo, Gerardo, Cristian and Cynthia  in Mendoza for making us feel so much a part of the Zorzal family. We are pleased with our investment and encourage other Zorzal investors to enjoy the beautiful sunsets from the terrace of our winery!!

Corinne, Glenys Carol - las 3 hermanas!

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