Small plot farmers in Maule

October 20, 2011
October 20, 2011 Matt

Small plot farmers in Maule

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.


Nivaldo Morales





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.


Turning soil between vines with a horse and plough














Below we see Grenache being grafted onto 100 year old pais roots.




Renan Cancino































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.

Derek Mossman Knapp


Derek Mossman turning the soil with a 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.





Nivaldo Morales and his wife















Please remember all these images are copyrighted and cannot be used without prior agreement with Matt Wilson. Thanks and I hope you enjoy them









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British photographer, living in Chile. Working mainly in the drink industry. Just finished work on third book of wine photos and planning next project

Comments (16)

  1. Like your new site a lot. The first thing that jumps out is the richness of your photos. Look forward to seeing a lot more in the future.

  2. Matt

    Cheers John. I have been persuaded to do much more blogging. Hopefully at least one a week. So watch this space for new uploads

  3. Love to see you back on the blog, these photos are a treat. It’s cool to get a little glimpse into their real life. And for the record, that guy is more than three times my age and I’m sure he could my ass around the block and back, so good for him.

  4. Matt

    Cheers Kyle. Next time I head down to Maule, you should join me. They are a great bunch down there. Some groovy wines as well

  5. Matt,
    The latter one, THE BETTER ONE. Love to see so beautiful, people, working with the land, not spoiing it…and making WINE!!!!

  6. Amazing photos. My favorites are the ones of Derek with wood in both hands, and the second to last one. Love that shadow.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Matt

    Thanks for all the kind comments. @Leslie, that light in the room in the second to last photo was amazing. Just one window with the sun shinning straight through. I needed to fiddle around with the metering to get it right though.

  8. Hey, great pics.
    I have one question… where in Maule did you take this photos?. My family has a property in north-west area of Maule, and these look like you took them somewhere there…. maybe Curepto? Licanten? Hualañe?….
    Best regards and thanks promoting my country 😉

  9. Matt

    Hola Margarita,
    These photos were made at several locations over three days. Mainly near Cauquenes, Souzal and at Caliboro.
    I’m glad you enjoyed them. I am always happy to promote Chile. My wife is Chilean and my kids are half Chilean so I have a vested interest! 🙂

  10. Derek gave me the same experience last November Matt. Incredible people and some great wines from “Vigno” and others. I’m preparing a feature for the Sommelier Journal hopefully to be published soon… of course I’ll tell them who to get pix from 🙂

  11. Different viewers will see different images when they look at your photos. For me it’s an emotional experience. Because I was born and raised down there, I must say I’m able to see a ‘bit’ more, to the point that I’ve had to wipe a few tears off my face.

    Keep it up Matt! My marketing mind gets going and I think what a wonderful opportunity this could be to market these wines as truly different, traditional and rich, made with the loving hand of these small plot farmers. The world is craving for authentic, naturally made products rich in tradition.

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