Viña Carmen is considered Chile’s first winery, established in 1850 by Christian Lanz. Ever since then it has been ahead of its time in many ways, and most notably was the first winery to create and sell a Carmenère wine, back in 1996, blending it with Cabernet Sauvignon and labelling it Carmen Gran Reserva Grande Vidure (a synonym for Carmenère).
In 1994 on 24th November, French ampelographer Jean Michel Boursiquot was visiting the vineyards of Viña Carmen when he spotted that the vines of Merlot looked remarkably like Carmenère, which was then considered almost extinct after disappearing from France following phylloxera. It was this discovery in Carmen’s vineyard that led to the emergence of Carmenère as one of the most important grape varieties in Chile.
Today, Carmen winery is a very modern building with state of the art technology and is owned by Santa Rita after becoming part of the Grupo Claro in 1987 (which also owns Doña Paula in Argentina). Viña Carmen has a broad portfolio of wines overseen by talented young winemaker Emily Faulconer. Emily isn’t the first notable woman in Carmen’s history, as this winery was in fact named after a woman – the wife of the founder, in the 19th century.