Guarilhue Alto, Guarilihue, Itata
60-80 year old vines, dry farmed, own-rooted, granitic soil
Onda Brava / A Los Viñateros Bravos: Since 2013, I’ve been fortunate to spend a significant amount of time producing wines in Itata, Chile. Together with Leo Erazo and our friends and families, we’ve been exploring and furthering our understanding of the ancient own-rooted and unirrigated bush vines of the Itata hills. The resulting projects are Onda Brava and A Los Viñateros Bravos.
La Onda is a small project dedicated to making living wines of distinctive character. Wines taste alive when they come from vines surrounded by life, terroir that speaks loudly and winemaking that doesn’t get in the way. La Onda embraces the beautiful and painstaking nature of patiently growing wine from start to finish.
I currently farm four acres of own-rooted vines in the Sierra Foothills, split between two slopes at 1,900 and 2,500 ft elevation. The vineyards are wild, a true collection of vines, granite, red clay, insects, bees, herbs, flowers, berries, thistles and hungry animals. The farming is chemical free, without irrigation, without tillage and demands tons of work by hand and hand tools. We harvest the grapes by making several passes through the same vineyard sections over the course of weeks, slowly building fermentations with ripe grapes.
A few wines are produced from these vineyards and an additional four from other organic and/or biodynamic vineyards farmed by friends. The winemaking is very simple: all the wines are either foot-stomped and left to ferment, foot-stomped then pressed or immediately pressed whole-cluster. There is no de-stemming, no additives and juice/wine is almost always moved by gravity flow rather than by pump. Wines are left to age in barrel for as long as they need and then bottled unfined/unfiltered before further bottle aging.