Big companies a threat to Maule?

Chris Losh

Chris Losh

20 September 2016

Hundreds of traditional growers in Chile's Maule Valley could be under threat if too many of the country's big companies decide to cash in on the region's growing success, one of the region's most influential operators has warned.

The Garage Wine Company's Derek Mossman Knapp is one of the founders of the Vigno project, which has been instrumental in driving the success of old vine Carignan in the region.

'Maule is basically old men with ploughs,' he says. 'It should be dry farmed. The worry is that large companies will come in, put in 1000 hectares and machine harvest. Then they control the prices and put the small guys out of business.'

Others, however, were more sanguine. 'Having the bigger guys there just improves the Maule brand,' said Grant Phelps, winemaker at Casas del Bosque. 'Growers are getting a humane price for their grapes now; before they were just quietly going out of business.'

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