In TerraMater, there is a special concern to establish a form of agriculture which is sustainable in the long term, improving and nurturing the fertility of the soil whilst, of course, never offending or affecting it negatively. At the same time, buildings must comply with a high standard of aesthetics and funcionality which will endure in the long term to future generations. Future planning and conscientiousness at TerraMater even today already goes beyond its owners and managers.
TerraMater, in each of its products, aims to deliver the sun, the earth, the water, the beauty and the love there is in its lands to all its customers around the world. At the same time, it wishes to make a testimony to the passion, dedication and effort of the hundreds of people who all contribute to cultivating and harvesting the best fruit at TerraMater and its subsequent transformation into products of which we can be truly proud. The positive results which TerraMater has achieved since its creation are due in great part to the people who have been working in the business for more than 40 years contributing with their expertise to making a lasting impression on our customers with such good quality products.
Finally, at TerraMater we enjoy what we do. We produce natural products which also contain the flavour of Mother Earth and help us to improve our health and quality of life.
Hacienda San Jorge is a property located in the southwest of the Curicó city, 215km from Santiago. It’s placed between parallels 35,0 and 35,1 south latitude. Wines produced in this beautiful vineyard are part of the Curico Valley D.O.
Originally the vines were planted in the flat part of this land, at the end of 40’s and begin of 50’s, producing continuos problem because of the frost. The simple solution was to take them out and plant in the slopes of the hills in the property. The vineyards are mainly oriented to northwest. The perfect combination between soil and weather allow us even to not use irrigation, giving us very concentrated grapes.
San Jorge is located in a pre Andes area with very fresh nights due to the “raco” wind which blows from Los Andes to the valley increasing the cold character of this area. That special mixture produces a long and late maturation of the grapes. The Cabernet has a high concentration good to keep the wine during decades after being bottled.
This vineyard because of its beauty, age and localization, allow us to produce a wine of singular quality, giving us the best raw material to develop any Ultra Premium project.
Hacienda Caperana is located almost in the heart of Maipo Valley, 40km form Santiago in Southeast direction. This exceptional land is established between parallels 33,6 and 33,7 South Latitude. The wine produced there belong to the denomination of origin “Maipo Valley”
This is a propriety placed along the Maipo River. Most of its soils are very stony because the river flooded during its rushed in old times. There are also others areas of piedmont with deeper and richest soils, generating a great diversity of terroir.
There are many interesting opportunities to expand the vineyards towards up the hills and the river coast in a singular sector, where is possible to find a fresh climate being very interesting to other varieties, according to new studies.
Many important and well known wines that have reached its reputation and prestige have been produced with grapes that grew in Caperana. Cabernet are wines with a good structure, to palate, and with a seductive aroma, characteristic of its exclusive terroir of Chile.
Other varieties that have excelled are the Zinfandel and Shiraz, common in California and Australia respectively, however, they have know how to get the taste of Maipo Valley and Chilean soils. Finally, a great satisfaction and surprise has produced the Sangiovese after its first harvest in April 2002.
Some of the wines produced with grapes from Hacienda Caperana are: Zinfandel
TerraMater was founded in 1996 by the Canepa sisters, Gilda, Antonieta and Edda who were all in their 60’s at the time. Basicaly, they contributed extensive agricultural properties and other valuable assets to the newly formed company. The most important of these properties had belonged to the family for 50 years as is the case of the San Jorge estate in Curicó and Caperana estate in Isla de Maipo whilst El Carmen estate was purchased in 1995.
In this way, TerraMater started out with 400 hectares of well established vineyards producing mainly Cabernet Sauvignon of excellent quality from vines of which some are over 50 years old, 350 hectares of fruit trees especially apples and 83 hectares of olive groves producing outstanding quality olive oil.
The most interesting and surprising thing for me was that the Canepa sisters willingly accepted the plan I proposed to create a new winery since all new ventures bring new risks. However, the plan was approved immediately, unanimously and very enthusiastically. That year there was a very good opportunity to take advantage of the increased demand for red wines thanks to studies which showed how consumption of red wine was beneficial to health and that fact that these investigations had been revealed just when offers of red wine were limited resulting in a worldwide increase in the price of red grapes and red wine to coincide with the fact that we had both grapes and wine in quantity and quality. It was September 1996, and we needed a new high-tech winery to be built and fully operational by March, 1997. Not only that but we also needed to build a team of qualified staff, oenologists, start to build a brand and look for customers all as quickly as possible.
What followed was a period of intense but interesting work all against the clock. The first vintage was made by David Morrison and his team of winemakers. As expected, the winery was not ready in time and the winemakers had to work alongside the construction workers laying cement flooring and other teams of workers from both French and Italian suppliers assembling stainless steel tanks. There were problems with electrical installations, with water supply and practically everything that could go wrong did go wrong as with most setting up processes.
The winemakers performed magnificently, almost heroically, filling tanks as soon as they had been erected and collaborating with everyone else to deal with the difficulties and solve problems. In May when the winery was finished and the builders and installers had finished their work, we could finally admire a magnificent, shining, brand new winery with 3,000,000 litres of temperature controlled fermentation capacity in stainless steel as well as the very best available machinery to vinify, de-stem, crush and filter. We had this new winery as well as our old storage facilities full of wine that year at prices which fluctuated between US$ 1.50 and US$ 2.00 per litre of bulk Cabernet Sauvignon, a price which today we can only dream of. But the most important thing of all is that the winemakers managed to make sufficient good quality wine to enable us to launch our own TerraMater brand. Of the thousands of names I looked at and the hundreds I proposed only TerraMater received immediate, enthusiastic and unanimous approval. All the other names were rejected or received with a “ what else have you got “. TerraMater made its appearance when I joined together two latin words I was familiar with on a piece of paper full of other alternatives. I first mentioned it in a meeting with one of our directors, Enrique Cibié, and Douglas Murray founder of Viña Montes who provided us with some friendly advice. After reading out various names which were all received in silence, I read out the name TerraMater and I was surprised by Enrique’s enthusiastic reaction “ that’s the name, don’t look any more “. Douglas approved adding that the name was “ green “ and that this was a good message to send out. When Miss Gilda knew about the name she was thrilled and found it most appropriate given that the new TerraMater winery had been built on the Caperana estate which was the first property my grand-father José Canepa had purchased and named Caperana after the village where he was born in Liguria, south of Genova in Italy. TerraMater a company which to begin with started only with Mother Earth.
Another interesting aspect of the TerraMater winery and warehouse is its remarkable architecture. Architect, Guillermo Hevia, is in my opinion and that of many others, the best industrial architect in Chile and his design is visually beautiful, very functional, full of natural light and a very agreeable place in which to work. Guillermo has told me that when he shows his work to other architects or colleagues they all choose the TerraMater winery and warehouse as their favourite. Many students of architecture come to visit us each year.
Enrique Armstrong, the construction engineer, was responsible in great part for convincing and negotiating with Guillermo to convince him to design the project. He was convinced that Guillermo had a brilliant idea and advised me to make every attempt to reach an agreement with Guillermo which we eventually did with very satisfactory results.
A very important factor which has contributed to the success we have achieved so far is the confidence customers have had in our company from the very beginning since they were aware of our background and this enabled us to form a team of well qualified and experienced staff members which, in turn, allowed us to penetrate key markets quite quickly and with significant initial volumes. As a matter of fact, one of those customers agreed to purchase an important volume of bottled wines from our company even though, at the time, all I was able to do was show them the plans of our bottling plant and the bottling line which had still not been built or installed.