Alberto Eckholt: New Chief Winemaker for Viña Caliterra - Caliterra | Caliterra
20 February, 2023

Alberto Eckholt: New Chief Winemaker for Viña Caliterra

“I always wanted to be a creator of something. I fell in love with Oenology because it allows you to create a product from its origin and follow it to the end of its journey. The moment a bottle of wine is uncorked is magical because wine has the power to bring people together, inspire conversations and convey its own history and also my experience as a winemaker.”

Born in Santiago de Chile in 1985, Alberto studied Agricultural Engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, driven by his love for the countryside and the land. While there, he discovered that Oenology brought together everything he was passionate about: travel, cooking and food pairings, family gatherings around good food, and the richness of different cultures.

Throughout his career, Alberto has toured different wine regions and participated in numerous harvests. One of his first trips was to Europe in 2010, one that enlightened his career: “During my university studies I applied for an internship in France, and despite being one of the most demanded ones, I was accepted and was able to share an unforgettable month at Château de Cranne, a family winery in Bordeaux in which its owners transferred to me that passion and deep-rooted and unique cultural tradition that is only found in France. All of that captivated me and gave meaning to my studies at that time.”

After completing harvests in Bordeaux, Colchagua and Limarí between 2009 and 2010, Alberto led the harvests of Viña Montes as Chief Winemaker of Apalta winery, being in charge of the Premium cellar and overseeing all the operational and oenological processes related to the production of high-end wines. “Montes paved the way for me in this field and instilled in me the rigor of work, understanding wine from the vineyard, caring about every detail, and the importance of wine tasting as a tool aiming for perfection and top quality.”

From Colchagua he moved to Napa Valley in 2012, as Winemaker and Project Manager of Viña Montes USA, leading an unprecedented Chilean project developed in some of the most renowned terroirs in California (Napa, Paso Robles, Santa Rita Hills). “Living in Napa allowed me to discover and experience a new business vision that was very different from the Chilean one, focused on high-end wines, direct-to-consumer sales, and tourism experiences of superlative level.”

While living in the United States, Alberto was able to complement the vintages in the northern hemisphere during August 2013 and 2014 with harvests in Mendoza in March of those years, with Viña Kaiken (also part of Viña Montes), totaling two vintages per year. Thanks to those harvests, he delved into the Malbec variety and Andes mountain range wines, allowing him to experience and better understand the importance of high-altitude terroir, its effects on the different varieties, and how to craft high-end Malbec.

In 2015 and for the next two years, Alberto was the Winemaker and Commercial Director of Andes Beverages, an innovative wine company and leader in the development and export of private brands for the Asian market, during which time he also fulfilled a vintage in Burgundy. At the same time, he was the Winemaker and Viticulturist of Viña Nerkihue, participating in its brand building, products, strategies, sales and marketing.

In 2018, Alberto joined the family-owned winery Luis Felipe Edwards based in Colchagua, as winemaker of the Reserva, Gran Reserva and Premium ranges, where he highlights the top efficiency displayed in all the productive processes of the company. “I learned to value the importance of technology and its fundamental role in the efficiency of processes and the quality of the wines”. But in addition, he had the opportunity to work with two great mentors of his career, wine consultants Philippe Melka and Matt Thompson, “from whom I learned to better understand the harvest timing of each variety, identify and define vinification blocks and to improve the way to taste the components to create expressive, elegant and outstanding wine blends.”

Alberto joined Viña Caliterra in early 2023 bringing along his extensive oenological experience, seeking to contribute to the winery’s development by promoting its modernization focusing on efficiency, technology and quality, all accompanied by a very special vision:

“I want to contribute to this new chapter of the winery with a profound sense of origin, of terroir, as it evolves, while maintaining its core sustainable philosophy that makes it unique, where its wines always express this magical place that everyone talks about, highlighting its unique origin within the Colchagua Valley.”

We wish Alberto all the best in this new challenge. We are sure his extensive winemaking experience will help Viña Caliterra continue to operate under its unique style, efficiency approach, and sustainable philosophy.