The first time I saw O’Fourniers Uco Valley winery was around four years ago. I was on a trip with Tim Atkin, Olly Smith and Tom Cannavan. We were driven to this amazing architectural creation late one afternoon from Mendoza city. As we arrived I thought to myself, Wow, this looks like the alien mother ship! As we unloaded from the car, the captain of this particular ship appeared.
Meet, Jose Manuel, Ortega Fournier. CEO of O’Fournier wines. With wineries in Spain, Chile and his Uco Valley masterpiece.
Jose manuel is certainly a wine industry character that is not easily forgotten. He IS the face of O’Fourniers wines. I now consider him to be one of my good friends in this crazy industry. Whenever I am in Argentina, he puts me up at his Uco Valley guest house and treats me and my family with wonderful generosity. His winery there produces some fantastic wines. Wines which I can say I buy by the case. Not a statement I say often. My wife who is a winemaker and has the better palate, would not be happy if I came home without some O’Fournier wines stashed in my car. He also has a guest house near San javier in the Maule Valley in Chile. I have stayed there a few times as his guest.
At the winery they have a superb restaurant where his wife Nadia is the head chef! Here the food is always wonderful and paired well with the wines. Nadia makes sauces and oils infused with rosemary and other herbs which grow in abundance around the winery.
Jose Manuel and his wife Nadia, originate from Spain. They moved to Argentina several years ago. Jose manuel spends over 200 days a year traveling the world promoting his wines. I always bump into him at wine events, whether it’s in the US, Europe or South America. I’ll be in a hotel lobby and there he will be on his Blackberry or chatting to a journalist. He is the marketing guru of O’Fourniers, and the results are in and proving he’s doing a great job. In Maule in Chile he is making some superb wines as well. He is a big fan of Carignan from down in Maule. In fact his Centauri 2008 wine, a blend of Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and carignan, won best wine in Chile at a big event last year. A well deserved award.
As a sitter for my style of portraits Jose Manuel is great. He has always supported me and encouraged me. He will introduce me to all the journalists and recommend me to magazines around the globe. Big respect to the captain of the ship.
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