Viña Leyda pioneered production in Chile's Leyda Valley and was even instrumental in achieving the region's Denomination de Origin status, which was granted in 2002.
It all began in 1998, when the Fernandez family first recognised the Leyda Valley's vine-growing potential. Crucially, the region needed a better water supply for irrigation, and the family was behind a huge project to lay underground pipes that travelled a whopping 8km to bring water from the Maipo river.
The company chose this spot for its vineyards because its position provides a fantastic cool climate influence: situated to the west of the coastal mountain range, the Pacific Ocean lies just 7km away, and the region also benefits from the cooling Humboldt current. It is cool here - the maximum average temperature in the hottest month is around 25 °C - allowing the grapes to ripen slowly for ideal aromas and balance.
The 230ha of vineyards are managed by viticultor Tomás Rivera, who helps to manage each site's microterroir in order to bring out their individual personalities. The mixture of granite, sandy-clay, and clay soils on the vineyards' undulating hills provides an interesting array of characteristics.
Viña Leyda also has several single-vineyard plantings that are responsible for its more premium wines. The Society has purchased wines from nearly all the single vineyards in the past, but we buy most frequently from three in particular. Garuma has south-west facing sandy soils, providing excellent drainage and deep roots, which helps to create fresh, mineral whites. Further inland the Cahuil vineyard produces deliciously mineral, concentrated reds thanks to the north-east exposure and calcium-rich red clay soils. Lastly, the ever-popular pinot noir we buy from the Las Brisas vineyard benefits from slow-ripening vines with a high fruit concentration, planted on well-draining red clay soils, helping the grapes to retain their juicy freshness.
Chief winemaker Viviana Navarrete oversees operations in the winery. With such an expert team, brilliant vineyard sites and iconic status in the region, it isn't surprising that Viña Leyda has been the source for both The Society's Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and The Society's Chilean Pinot Noir for many years, both of which remain firm favourites with our members.
The word 'leyda' has evolved in local dialect to mean 'the way', a phrase derived from 'la ida', meaning 'going' or 'one-way ticket' in Spanish. This is partly responsible to the old train station here, which became known as a landmark for being the last station on the way from Santiago to the coast. Sadly, this important local building burnt down in the eighties, but Viña Leyda bought it when the company first began, and its symbol still appears on its wine labels.