Falernia was founded in 1998 after Aldo Olivier Gramola realized the potential for producing superb wines in this semi-arid valley. Aldo settled with his family in the Elqui Valley in 1951 and has been producing grapes and wine there since 1975. The Falernia project was born after he met Giorgio Flessati, an oenologist. This is an innovative venture given that Falernia is Chile’s most northerly wine estate, a considerable distance from the country’s main winegrowing areas. The driving force has been a passion for the wine and the challenge of transforming a tract of desert into a green vineyard with enormous potential for producing premium wines, availing ourselves of the latest technology, the support of agronomists from Chile’s universities and of world renowned oenologists.
The winery is located in the Vicuna area at the end of Puclaro lake and is equipped with state of the art technology, including sealed pneumatic press which, in addition to producing perfectly clear must by applying very low pressures, also enabling the cold maceration of white grapes prior to pressing, and stainless steel tanks for temperature controlled fermentation (capacity 30,000 liters each). Other state of the art technology includes tanks with pistons to simulate the traditional method of punching down the skins by hand as they are driven to the surface during red wine fermentation, micro-boulage for red wines, French and American oak barrels, a refrigeration system for tartaric acid stabilization and temperature controlled fermentation, cold sterile bottling with a capacity of 5,000 bottles per hour, and a labelling machine which applies self-adhesive labels.
The winery is in the process of being enlarged to accommodate new planting coming into full production. The grapes are exclusively hand picked, harvested in small bins containing 15 kg each, and are delivered to the winery for processing within minutes of being picked. The total capacity of the winery, at the moment is 4.5 millions liters.