Francisco Baettig, winemaker and Technical Director of Viña Errázuriz, Viñedo Chadwick and Viña Seña, has been nominated for Winemaker of the Year by the prestigious U.S. magazine Wine Enthusiast, in its annual Wine Enthusiast 2016 Wine Star Awards. This outstanding nomination positions Baettig among the top winemakers of the world, and also crowns an exceptional career highlighted by his passionate hard work, always in a constant quest for making more distinctive wines, along with a deep commitment for searching and understanding the diversity of Chilean terroir.
A thrilled Francisco Baettig commented: “this nomination is a beautiful recognition that inspires me to keep on working in what is my passion, trying to create unique and distinctive wines that could stand out alongside world class wines. I wish to extend this recognition to the exceptional and unique winemaking team that works with me in this dream.”
According to Wine Enthusiast, “the winemaker for Chilean brand Viña Errázuriz is involved in Grand Cru plantings and creating iconic luxury wines from a country best known for value (…) for a distinctly Chilean flavor, and also producing quality Chardonnay.”
The Grand Cru planting that the publication refers to are located in Aconcagua Costa, a unique and extraordinarily beautiful property with cool-climate conditions and schist soil. After years of mapping and exploring the property, and with the collaboration of the French geologist Francoise Vannier-Petite, Viña Errázuriz identified specific blocks with a unique influence of this metamorphic rock in the soils, that along with specific climate conditions, yield grapes of exceptional distinctive minerality, flavours and aromas.
Francisco Baettig is up against winemakers from South Africa (Andrea Mullineux of Mullineux Family Wines), France (British Jonathan Maltus of Chateau Teyssier in Saint-Emilion) and USA (Bill Easton of Terre Rouge and David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars) with the winner taking out not only a trophy but the accolade represented by winning one of the world’s most prestigious award for the Winemaker of the Year category.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine was founded in 1988 and with 800,000 readers is regarded as the world’s largest periodical devoted exclusively to wine and spirits. Each year, Wine Enthusiast honors the individuals and companies that made outstanding achievements over the past year in the wine and beverage world.
Wine Star Awards are judged in categories ranging from Person of the Year, American, European and New World Wineries to Wine Region, Brewery and a number of trade awards. The winners of all the 14 categories of the 2016 Wine Star Awards will be announced in the Wine Enthusiast’s special “Best of Year” issue in November, and they will be honored at a black-tie gala in Miami on Monday, January 30, 2017, for the first time in the event’s history at Nobu Eden Roc.
About Francisco Baettig: A new Breed of Winemaker
Winemaker Francisco Baettig accepted a major challenge when he stepped up to the position of Chief Winemaker for Viña Errázuriz in 2003. His tasks included taking responsibility for the winery’s top wines, first for Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve, and later Seña and Viñedo Chadwick as well. All were excellent and well-respected wines that had already proven their place beside the finest in the world when he arrived, and it was his job to continue fine tuning them toward their purest expression of terroir—an endeavour he considers never-ending.
Francisco does not stop at “good enough.” He is a member of a new generation of Chilean oenologists who believe that one of the first priorities in fine winemaking is understanding the vineyards and their terroir to make the best use of their attributes and produce wines that express the personality of their origins.
Over the years he has refined viticultural practices and adjusted harvest dates in pursuit of wines with greater elegance through the precise balance of fresh acidity, fruit concentration, and tannin maturity. Vinification techniques, such as extraction levels, maceration time, the use of oak, and barrels aging, have also been fine-tuned to heighten the purity of the fruit. His ultimate goal is to make pleasingly elegant wines with long aging potential, and the fact that his wines have consistently received high praise from international critics and wine lovers alike is clear evidence of his success.
Francisco’s work as a winemaker draws on the knowledge and skills he has developed over the years backed by a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Chile and a Master’s in Oenology with highest honours from the University of Bordeaux, France. He also has significant experience working harvests in France, California, Argentina, and Chile, and has made numerous technical visits to the major wine regions of the world.
In recognition of his professional achievements and the great wines he has crafted, Francisco was named Winemaker of the Year in 2011 by the Chilean Circle of Food & Wine Writers. Also under his leadership, the 2014 Viña Errázuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay won the 2016 Innovative Wine from the Coastal Zone Award from the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. And on May 13, 2016, he achieved a major new milestone for Chilean wine. The 2014 Viñedo Chadwick received 100 points from wine critic James Suckling, making it the first Chilean wine to attain the world’s highest recognition, while Francisco became the first Chilean winemaker to obtain the perfect score for a wine.Download PDF