The Roots: Viña La Playa, Chile
The very first La Playa wine, named for Chile’s magnificent Pacific coastline and the vibrant rivers that nourish the Viña La Playa vineyards, was introduced in 1987 by the Axelsen family of California. The Axelsens also own CabCorp Wine Merchants in Marin, California, established in 1980 and the exclusive importer and distributor of La Playa wines in the United States and Canada.
Viña La Playa S.A. of Chile is a partnership between the Axelsens and two prominent Chilean winemaking legends: the Sutil and Errázuriz families. The winery encompasses 600 acres of prime property in the Colchagua Valley, plus 200 acres in Limarí Valley and additional vineyards in such highly desirable areas such as Curicó Valley, Bío-Bío and Maule Valley.
Unique Microclimate = Premium Wine Grapes
A river runs through it. That’s just one of the secrets behind La Playa’s premium wines from Chile, and their signature character that year-in and year-out wins them top ratings from international critics. Both of the winery’s hallmark vineyards are fed by rivers coursing through their fertile soils, including the Tinguirrica River in Colchagua Valley, and the Limarí River in Limarí Valley. The artwork on La Playa’s distinctive labels celebrate these rivers, as well as showcasing the importance of the ocean in cultivating La Playa’s distinctive grapes (La Playa means “the beach” in Spanish).
Colchagua boasts brilliant sunlight and high daytime temperatures during the growing season, while Limarí lies along the south border of the searing hot Atacama desert, the driest place on earth. Despite the morning mist and dense coastal fog – known as camanchaca – water is scarce. Yet both vineyards benefit from a strong coastal influence, with constantly cooling ocean winds.
One taste of La Playa’s wines, and the significance is clear. High daytime and low nighttime temperature variations bring concentrated color, aroma and flavor to the grapes, while rich sedimentary soil joins with sandy river banks and an exceptionally long growing season for ideal terroirs. Grapes are planted where they thrive the best; rich sedimentary soil plus alluvial clay soils over unique limestone bed offer excellent drainage and minerals, promoting crisp natural acidity and outstanding development of the trademark La Playa style.
The Viña La Playa Team
Talented, highly motivated, and committed to quality – those are the hallmarks of the wine experts at Viña La Playa.
Our team is technologically savvy, with a dedicated, scientific approach to viticulture and winemaking. At the same time, we hold great respect for the artistry that defines fine wines, drawing from centuries-old traditions to nurture our grapes from vine to bottle. Though each step, from grape to glass, our focus is on creating wines of exceptional taste and value; graceful additions to the best dinner tables all around the world.
Rodrigo Serrano is our viticulturist in charge of all of La Playa properties. His role is critical, because wines can be only as good as the grapes from which they are made. Rodrigo is well known not just for his professional acumen, but also for his skill as a Chilean rodeo rider. He lives with his family on the Colchagua estate and has been involved with the enterprise since the beginning.
Rafael Tirado is La Playa’s consulting winemaker. He brings extensive experience to the winemaking program, including being named “The best winemaker of the country” in 2010, and boasting an impressive resume that includes working with Terranoble Vineyards of Maule Valley, with George Deville in France, and at wineries in La Rioja, Spain as well as across California.
Oscar Salas is La Playa’s lead winemaker, crafting wines that express the terroir of Chile and its unique Andes influence. Oscar studied winemaking and viticulture at Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica, which has trained some of the country’s leading winemakers, and has worked at prominent wineries across South America and California.
Viña La Playa Hotel & Winery
In 2002, Viña La Playa expanded to include a $10 million, large-capacity winery with state-of-the-art American, French, and Italian technology.
The elegant, four-star Viña La Playa Winery & Hotel celebrated its grand opening in 2004. This, the first winery-based hotel in Chile, invites guests to sleep under the same roof as Viña La Playa’s premium wines.
A Commitment to Quality and Value
Today, La Playa is a leader in Chile’s burgeoning wine industry, recognized for international flavor and premium quality at a remarkably low price. Currently La Playa is distributed in more than 20 countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.
Yet the prices remain reasonable. As the Wall Street Journal has noted: “some of the greatest bargains…are coming from Chile, excellent wines that should cost more but luckily don’t.”
That is a recipe for what has always been our main focus: providing exceptional value in fine wines.Back to top