Written by 18:03 English, Innovación y Emprendimiento

Itata Brandy with the UdeC stamp

During 4 years researchers from the Universidad de Concepción worked together with wine growers from Rahuil to produce brandy, giving additional value to their crops and projecting a promising future for families linked to the wine sector and the future of tourism in the región. 

By Paulina Hernández / phernandezj@udec.cl

/ Photograpies: Gentileza FCNO UdeC

With the aim of adding value to the heritage terpene grapevine of the Itata Valley, mainly the Torontel, Moscatel from Alejandría and Corinto wine grapes, produced on the fields of the members of the Rahuil Tradition and Culture Wine Growers Committee, a project for the elaboration of brandy was developed.

This led to the production of white grape wine that was distilled to obtain the prized brandy, a distilled spirit macerated in Wood for a while, which gives the final product a characteristic aroma and a similar color to cinnamon tea.

For the vintners, the increase was gigantic; They went from selling a kilogram of grapes for 100 chilean pesos to produce Pipeño wine that costs about 500 pesos a liter, to a brandy, whose commercial value is 20 thousand pesos, which promises a great value to the inherited wealth of its cultivations in the future.

The work team was headed by Dr. José Becerra, whom together with Dr. Claudia Pérez and the biologist Daniel Cajas, from the Chemistry of Natural Products Laboratory, Department of Botany, in addition to the oenologists Dr. Ignacio Serra from the Faculty of Agronomy, Gustavo Martínez from the Municipalidad de Florida, Dr. Pedro Aqueveque from the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, and Muriel Sandoval, technological manager of the UdeC, along with several thesis students, carried out the transfer of specialized scientific and technical knowledge to around 40 wine producers from the Itata Valley.

Among the project activities different actions with the winegrowing community were included. One of them was a training seminar about pruning focussed on women, with the aim of integrating them into the production process of an activity traditionally and mainly carried out by men. The activity included 50 women from Rahuil. In addition, for the entire community of vintners, tasting and distillate workshops were held. 

In the Laboratory of Chemistry of Natural Products, the chemical characterization of the wines was carried out and then of the distillates from the different strains considered in this project. However, this FIA project made a real contribution to the winegrowing community through the delivery of a 150-liter copper still and financial support to readjust the space of their cooperative.

The brandy with the UdeC seal was successfully presented at the Grape Harvest Festival, which was attended by regional authorities and five thousand people. A workshop and product tasting were held there by Dr. Ignacio Serra and Daniel Cajas.

“As a future projection, we envision a tourist circuit in the area, because they are the closest vineyards we have to the city of Concepción. Now there is a special connection with Florida, the Rahuil vineyards are 30 minutes from here and someone who visits the city can learn about its peculiarities, such as the fact that they are cultivated at ground level and that they receive all the benefits of the coastal microclimate and the type of soil from the Itata Valley, which gives it a special characteristic”, says Dr. Claudia Pérez.

Also, this project promises to open new horizons, especially thinking about future generations. “As a team we see the need to implement a specialized Technical Training Center in the area, made for the children of farmers and winemakers, so that they can be trained in this line and that they be the ones who maintain this tradition, because for winemakers it is important that this transcends time. This type of crop has unique characteristics and can make a difference in the national market and in the process add value to the rich heritage of our area”, stressed Dr. José Becerra.

A manual titled “Brandy; Art and Science of the valuation of the wine heritage of the Itata Valley University of Concepción, Faculty of Natural and Oceanographic Sciences, Faculty of Agronomy” is soon to be published. This research is directed to small farmers and aims to contribute to heritage vineyards such as those of Rahuil in Florida, Region of the Biobío, can last over time.

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Last modified: 10 de abril de 2022