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Chile's Santa Rita welcomes new winemaker

Published:  19 September, 2016

Viña Santa Rita has announced the appointment of Oscar Salas as head winemaker of the Santa Rita 120 tier of wines.

Salas takes up the position on October 1 after the departure of Carlos Gatica, who has left the company to pursue his own interests.

Eduardo Alemparte, Santa Rita Estates' (SRE) technical director said: "Gatica was a hugely valued member of the winemaking team who made an outstanding contribution during his eleven years with Santa Rita. His attention to detail in ensuring consistent quality and standards of excellence has undoubtedly helped to position Santa Rita 120 wine as one of our most successful global exports."

Trained at Chile's Pontificia Universidad Católica, Salas graduated with a degree in winemaking and viticulture.

From there he worked with Cousino Macul before joining the Santa Rita Estates team for the first time in 2001.

Salas spent ten years as chief winemaker on the SRE Terra Andina brand before leaving to spend a short stint with Hartford Family Wines in Sonoma, then joined Sutil Family Wines in February 2012.

There, Salas took on the dual role of chief winemaker and export manager for the UK and Europe - a role which furthered his commercial understanding of the export market and put him in a "very strong position" when the 120 winemaker role came available, according to the company.

"Salas built a strong reputation within the industry whilst working at our Sur Andino winery and we are delighted to have him back on board as head winemaker of our Santa Rita 120 tier of wines," Alemparte added.

"His appointment is in line with the significant financial investment we are making through our WiSe project and the continued development of the Santa Rita 120 brand."

Santa Rita is part of the Santa Rita Estates portfolio comprising four wine brands from Chile: Santa Rita, Carmen, Nativa, Terra Andina and Doña Paula from Argentina.

Santa Rita is the number one selling wine brand in Ireland and is currently exported to over 80 countries worldwide.