I recently spent a few days down In Maule, around a six hour drive south of Santiago. I was making images for Derek Mossman Knapp of Garage Wine Company and my frequent road trip buddy. He has a project down there with some small plot vineyard farmers. Garage wine Company makes some rather tasty carignan from down those parts. Derek being a cool guy has been helping out these farmers by investing some time and money in their small vineyards. He asked me to get some images of these people to help promote this part of Chile. Maule is in fact one of the oldest wine producing valleys in Chile.
For me it was very exciting being down in Maule with these local farm owners, whose families have been growing vines and making wine in ceramic pots for over 100 years. In my work I am so often photographing big vineyard owners, who rarely, if ever get their hands dirty making their actual product. These people are the real deal. I spent a couple of days photographing them in their environment. They would often look at me with a kind of expression, which said
“who the hell are you Gringo with your cameras, you don’t know what real work is”
I have to admit, I think they had a point!
The man in the photo on the left, is called Geraldo, he is 82 years old. His grandfather planted these carignan vines (over 100 years old), in his vineyard. He was helping out unloading wooden poles to make the rows with. I am slightly over half his age, and he could lift more of these than me!
These people use horses, not because it is more friendly to the environment, or because it looks good. They use them because that’s what they have always done.
Below we see Grenache being grafted onto 100 year old pais roots.
Above is Renan Cancino, he is a viticulturist from the town of Sauzal. He is the man who knows the area down there as well as all the growers and wine makers. A very cool guy for sure. In fact when my wife needed some carignan grapes last year, Renan was her connection.
Below is Derek Mossman Knapp from The Garage Wine Company. He is doing some great things down there with these people and their land. He also works hands on, as we see when he’s ploughing with the horse.
Below we see Renans father, Bolivar (I love that name) in the wine cellar. Here they make wine in ceramic tanks, and seal them with mud for a year. I felt very privileged to be present when they opened one up and gave me a glass to try!
I will leave you with an image of Nivaldo Morales and his wife Otelia. She was a great character and called me Don Ingles (Mr English) She was delighted when she found out my wife was Chilean though.
We had finished for the day and went back to their adobe farm-house. The last rays of the sun were shining on this wall. I quickly got them to grab a couple of tools and stand there for their portrait. They were both very happy with the result. In fact Nivaldos new nickname is “Hollywood” because of the photos I made with him down in Maule.
Please remember all these images are copyrighted and cannot be used without prior agreement with Matt Wilson. Thanks and I hope you enjoy them