Who would have thought that it would be a Chilean from the industrial city of Concepcion that would become one of the most influential terroir specialists in the world? The unusually talented and enthusiastic Pedro Parra has taken on that roll as he consults for some of the world’s greatest vignerons in France, Italy, as well as many other countries. He has a master’s degree in precision agriculture and earned a Ph.D. for his work with terroir.
Spending time with Pedro is an enlightening experience; you find yourself learning something every single minute you’re around him . He’s able to talk with great precision about his own experience as a grape grower, winemaker and terroir consultant, and at the same time, he’s completely open to new ideas.
While Pedro gives nothing less than his best to his clients and many business partners in other ventures, his family project, Pedro Parra y Familia, is his most personally important* and idealistic venture yet. Everything is made in the vineyard and cellar exactly as he wants it, without the need to collaborate with others. His wines are distinctly Pedro; they’re honest, intense, humble and have great personality.
Lay of the Land
The Itata Valley was the first settlement of the Spanish Conquistadors during the 16th century. To keep up the necessary supply of wine for these new European settlers, they brought their own grape vines. And so the first propagation of some of Chile’s earliest vineyards began.
The magic of the Itata begins with its special granitic soils. This ancient 200 million-year-old batholith is home to dry-farmed bush vines principally planted with the reds, Pais (Mission grape) and Carignan, and the white grape, Muscat of Alexandria. Cool coastal winds and clouds keep the winegrowing season long, giving the wines great potential for developing the complexity needed for high quality wine.
Sadly, this region has been underutilized for decades and cheaper wines were made mostly for the locals. The winds of change have descended upon the Itata, making it one of the most exciting new prospects in the New World.