Santa Rita Estates, also known as the Claro Wine Group, comprises four wine brands from Chile: Santa Rita, Carmen, Nativa and Terra Andina along with Doña Paula from Argentina.
The team of winemakers and viticulturalists on each of the brands are dedicated to producing the best quality wines Chile can offer from a diverse range of terroirs. Each of the brands have their own unique identity and wine style, yet reap the benefits of shared knowledge and expertise from a team with many years of experience. Sustainability is top of the agenda in every part of the wine making process, from the vineyards to the final distribution and Santa Rita Estates have a fully integrated environmental and commercial sustainability programme in place.
Viña Santa Rita is one of Chile’s oldest and most enterprising wine producers. Viña Santa Rita was founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez, although historical records dating back to 1814 show the property was incremental in the fight for Chile’s independence. According to legend, General Bernardo O’Higgins and 120 of his patriots took refuge in the estate cellars while fighting for independence during the Battle of Rancagua in 1814. From the end of the 19th century to the mid 1970’s the property continued to prosper under the ownership of the García Huidobro family with the pioneering introduction of European grape varieties and technology in the Maipo valley.
Viña Santa Rita was acquired by the Claro group in 1980 and today the Santa Rita 120, Reserva, Medalla Real, Pehuen, Triple C and Casa Real brands demonstrate the quality, innovation and historical expertise in each wine produced.
Founded in 1850, Viña Carmen is the oldest winery in Chile. From its inception Carmen has been recognized as a pioneer in both viticulture and winemaking and today is regarded as one of the most important Chilean wineries in the premium wine sector. Carmen’s team of winemakers and viticulturalists have travelled the length and breadth of Chile analysing soils, climates and temperatures in their bid to produce the best wines with exceptional varietal characteristics. The rediscovery of Carmenère in 1994 at one of Viña Carmen’s vineyards in the Alto Maipo valley became a historical milestone for the world wine-making industry. Carmen became the driving force behind the development of Carmenère in Chile and launched its first varietally labelled bottle, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, in 1996.
The Claro Wine Group added Viña Carmen to their portfolio in 1987.
Nativa was born in 1995 as a part of Viña Carmen. Four years later, in 1999, Nativa became the first Chilean brand to launch a wine using organically certified grapes. The Nativa brand embodies the very essence of sustainability and is considered an educational reference in Chile supporting institutions that protect native flora and fauna and actively participating in developing and implementing support programmes for organic agricultural producers.
In 2009 the Nativa Eco Wines Company was created and it became a part of the Claro Wine Group, strengthening its solid commitment to organic agriculture and sustainability along with an ambitious plan for the future.
Acquired by the Claro Wine Group in 2001, Terra Andina’s award-winning wines express the diversity of Chile’s renowned terroirs, using grapes sourced from vineyards spanning the length of the country including the prized Maipo, Rapel, Casablanca and Colchagua Valleys, as well as the upcoming Limari and Leyda Valleys. The signature style of the wine is one that shows true, individual varietal characteristics created by blending the same grapes varieties from different valleys with different micro-climates and soil conditions. Differences in soil types, climate and ripening times are all taken into account to preserve each varietal’s unique flavour and bouquet. While part of the larger group, Terra Andina has total creative independence and is small enough to be experimental with single varietals and blends particularly suited to matching with food.
The search by the Claro Group for the best terroir in Argentina started in 1990 with the first purchase of land being made in 1997. Today, the Doña Paula brand owns over 760 hectares in the premium areas of Luján de Coyo and Uco valleys within the Mendoza region. The main wine regions of Ugarteche, Tupungato, Gualtallary and Altamira within the two valleys are rapidly developing the enviable reputation of producing outstanding quality wines. Malbec is the main focus within the brand however innovation is also top of the agenda with successful plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Cabernet Franc amongst others adding breadth and diversity to the traditional Argentinian offerings.