A Norwegian wine adventure
Odfjell chairman Laurence W. Odfjell hosts wine tasting event for more than 90 people in Rio de Janeiro.
On February 24, 2016, NBCC in cooperation with Odfjell Vineyards, Odfjell SE, Odfjell Brasil, Flumar, Granel and World Wine hosted a wine tasting event for members at the Margutta Cittá restaurant in downtown Rio de Janeiro.
More than 25 years has passed since Norwegian shipowner Dan Odfjell discovered and fell in love with a small corner of the famous Maipo Valley in Chile. His son, the current chairman of Odfjell SE, Laurence W. Odfjell, was the host of the NBCC event, and he took the participants through the fascinating history of the Odfjell wine adventure in Chile.
More than 90 people were present for the event, and the participants had the chance to taste four of the Odfjell wines: Armador Cabernet Sauvignon, Orzada Carignan, Orzada Malbec and Aliara.
«We love Chile. It is simply a paradise for winemaking with its dry, Mediterranean climate. My father bought the property in the Maipo Valley in 1982, but the vineyards were first planted in the early 1990-s. I am an architect and designed the vineyard basically right out of school in 1993, with the project being completed in1998, so you can call this my baby», Mr. Odfjell said in his presentation at the event.
The first vintage of Odfjell was 1998, and today the total production is about 50.000 cases of wine, in different price ranges and lines. The proud Odfjell shipping tradition explains why all of the wines have nautical-related names:
The very first Odfjell ship owning company was formally registered back in 1914 in Bergen, Norway. Today, the group is leading in the global market for transportation and storage of bulk liquid chemicals, acids, edible oils and other special products. Gross revenues exceed USD 1,2 billion, and the company has had activities in Brazil since the the late 1960-s. From 2004-2007, Laurence W. Odfjell lived in Brazil while working with the Odfjell privately owned terminals in South America.
The Armador Cabernet Sauvignon, an organic wine from Maipo Valley, is described as «the bread and butter» of the vineyard, and Odfjell Vineyards produces more than 30.000 cases of this wine a year.
Dan Odfjell currently lives in Chile, where the family has later acquired other vineyards. Today, Odfjell has 85 hectares planted in Maipo. Including the vineyards in Cauquenes and Lontué, Odfjell has a total surface area of 115 hectares being cultivated, planted with a wide array of grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tannat, Mouvedre, Tempranillo and old Carignan vines from Cauquenes.
The Trés Esquinas vineyard is located in the Maule Valley, and this is where the Carignan grape is grown. This grape is mostly known as coming from Languedoc in France, and is there often not considered a premiu grape, but today, the Orzada Carignan is one of the most famous Odfjell wines, because of its high quality.
«We discovered it in 2000, and you can say that the Carignan grape was the start on our path to success. The Orzada Carignan is an expression of the search we started, and a game changer. It has a snap of freshness and we loved it. We decided we wanted all of our wines to have freshness. For us, this is a premium wine that has brought us recognition», Mr. Odfjell said in his presentation.
He gave away several secrets, and admitted that the Orzada Carignan is his personal favorite.
«Wine is not easy, and we knew nothing about winemaking when we started. We made many mistakes but keep wanting to do it naturally and in a sustainable manner.»
Sustainability, organic, biodiversity and biodynamics are key words for the Odfjell wine production. By 2012 all the Odfjell´s fields were 100 percent certificated as organic. No chemical products are used in the production. In 2009, Odfjell Vineyards started exploring biodynamic farming, and in2012, the DEMETER certification recognized all our vineyards as biodynamic. Odfjell is the first producer with several vineyards in Chile with such distinction.
«Our grapes are handpicked, we focus on the natural and want to capture the freshness in the vineyard and bring it intactto your tables. In our vineyard we also use Norwegian Fjord horses for harvesting and this avoids compaction of soil wrought by machinery.»
Breaking the ice
Brazil is an important market for Odfjell Vineyards, and the company has found a local partner for distribution that shares our values: Celso La Pastina of World Wine is himself passionate about quality and organic and biodynamic vineyards and wines.
«Brazil is our fifth biggest market around the world, and I am impressed with the turnout at this event tonight. Wine is something that interests a lot of people, and it is great to meet other companies, business leaders and professionals through these events, where we can talk about something else than business. It breaks the ice, and Odfjell has used these events successfully over the years.»
Mr. Odfjell does however have more than wine on his agenda during the Brazil visit.
«We have a lot of activities in granel quimica with our Brazilian terminals and offer a wide range of services in Brazilian ports. We also have the Brazilian flagged shipping company Flumar, a company that handles chemicals and other products, and after an extensive modernization process, I think I can say that we provide services in Brazil with a safety standard superior to anyone else. This is again about sustainability. Despite the uncertainties in the Brazilian market, we are doing relatively well, serving industries where the activity level in general continues, even if maybe some sectors have less activity.»
Laurence W. Odfjell describes the Chilean vineyards as a true passion of the family.
«For my father and my family, this is important. Our shipping and terminal business brought us to faraway Chile, so thanks to this, we ended up buying the property in Chile. The winery is however not part of the Odfjell group as such, and it is less than one percent of the total sale. But I guarantee you that my family uses a lot more than one percent of our time on the wine production», Mr. Odfjell says.
To read more about Odfjell Vineyards, click here: http://www.odfjellvineyards.cl/en/
World Wine offers a 20 percent discount to NBCC members on the Odfjell wines throughout 2016.
Contact Alexandre Neo for more information:
Cell phone 21 97219 9046 Email email@example.com
By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist
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