The inspirational eco-friendly Emiliana was founded in 1986 by Rafael and José Guilisasti. The company produces socially and environmentally responsible wines of excellent quality at a very attractive price, which is why we approached them to create the Society-exclusive Silbador range.
Emiliana owns vineyards throughout the valleys that make up Chile's best winemaking areas - including Maipo, Rapel, Casablanca, Colchagua and Bío-Bío - each of which possesses different qualities suited to certain grape varieties. For instance, Rapel Valley's combination of ocean breezes and Andean winds make it ideal for merlot and carmenère, whereas the cool Casablanca Valley, with its sandy-loam soils and Pacific breezes, is perfect for delicate white varieties like chardonnay.
The result of their philosophy and processes is that all of Emiliana's vineyards teem with natural life, a perfect blend of predators and prey that forms a balanced vineyard ecosystem. In fact, a perfect example is the silbador - an insect-eating bird found in the vineyards. They also have hens, geese and alpacas roaming the vineyards, and they sow flowers between the vine rows to attract insects that prey on other, vine-harming species. The birds, bees and bugs act as a natural pesticide and weed killer, and the compost is made of grape leaves, stalks and stems, as well as manure from the animals that roam the vineyards.
Emiliana was also certified Carbon Neutral for the first time in 2008, after employing methods such as reducing their packaging, investing in solar panels and running their tractors on biodiesel. However, their biggest commitment is to the people that work for them: as well as being IMO-certified, meaning their staff is guaranteed a fair wage and fair treatment, they also offer employees scholarships to universities and colleges, and allotments on which they can grow their own fruit and vegetables. Their workers are also given responsibility (and therefore the profits) for the sale of subsidiary products like olive oil and honey, and Emiliana is even helping to better the next generation by providing computers and internet access for local schools.
The esteemed winemaker Alvaro Espinoza (who studied oenology both in Chile and Bordeaux) has been consulting at Emiliana since 2000, and has helped ensure the hard work in the vineyards is matched once the grapes reach the winery. Grapes are treated with the utmost care, in some instances undergoing a triple selection process on a conveyor belt to ensure only the best fruit is selected.
Interference is kept at a minimum: during fermentation only natural yeasts are used, and wines are stabilised without chemical treatments and only lightly filtered. When it comes to ageing wines, Emiliana uses a mixture of stainless steel and French and American oak, depending on the wine in question and also the vintage conditions. From the more everyday wines to the premium ranges, such as Coyam, Emiliana has earned an affectionate loyalty from Society members, and it is easy to see why.