Vinedo de los Vientos
‘Vineyard of the winds’ is located where the River Plate, the widest river in the world, meets the Atlantic Ocean. This region provides clean cool ocean breezes and an ideal climate for the maturation of wine grapes. With only 16 hectares, they practice sustainable agriculture with no insecticides and only a very low grade fungicide to control downy mildew.
The winemaker, Pablo Fallabrino, a laid back good natured surfer, is the perfect catalyst to create a world class winery. Pablo Fallabrino grew up in a family of winemakers. His grandfather, Angelo Fallabrino, moved to Uruguay from Piedmont in 1920, and in the 1930's he started two wineries with five different vineyards. Eventually, his father Alejandro took over, becoming one of the key players in the Uruguayan wine industry, until he passed away in 1991. When Angelo died, in 1995, Pablo took over a single vineyard-Vinedo de los Vientos, and in 1997, he decided to start his own winery.
Then in 2000, Pablo wanted to do something unique. He began blending and experimenting. "Old winemaking techniques. The white ["Estival"] is a blend, but it's fermented all together...I use the ripasso technique for Tannat...now I'm planting Italian varietals." And with the acquisition of Catedrral, 10ha of vineyards at 500 meters above sea level, Vinedo de los Vientos now has the highest vineyard in Uruguay. They'll plant six varietals in this experimental vineyard and, "for three years, we'll harvest and select the best varietals," says Pablo. "It's two to three degrees [C] cooler than the other [vineyard] and it's steep, so we'll have to make terraces. I want to see how the grapes develop there, to start natural, then see what I have to do." Using no insecticide and no-till farming, Vinedo de los Vientos does not filter their wines, and only fine with egg whites if necessary. They employ 20% selected yeasts, "just to start the fermentation," says Pablo, "...then you have yeast in the air...ten days after harvest, yeast is everywhere!"