It was the mayor, Juan Manuel Ojeda , who through his social networks announced -days ago- that for the first time in Malargüe there are those who are making "a wine production from their own vineyards". The fact is that there is practically no wine production in the department. So the news quickly gained momentum.
To learn more about it, Memo chatted with Juan Gabriel Montanari , one of the people in charge of the new initiative. Also, the man who was born in General Alvear but who has lived in Malargüe for more than three decades, provided his vision as a merchant of the difficult time he is going through in that geography of the southern province .
To start at the beginning, Montanari told a little story. "We have a business selling construction materials in Alvear and in Malargüe. We also have poplar plantations, afforestation in Alvear. In Malargüe the business was too small for us and we had to go out and find a larger plot, which is five hectares ", He started narrating.
And he continued: "The idea was to use it to unload the trucks when they come with merchandise. As we do training for the staff and we have several agreements with multinational companies for that, we made a meeting room. It has three windows that face the mountain. One day My father-in-law came and told us that he would like to see a row of vineyards to remember what we had in Alvear. We told a friend from Tupungato, Cristian Tumbarello, and he appeared one day with more than 300 plants . At that moment, he told us that was all bonarda" .
After that, he continued telling who is behind Chichino (name they chose in honor of the late father-in-law, who was a "dream maker"), they had to make a decision because there were many more vines than they had thought and the land, Although it was enough for all of them, he was not prepared: "We only thought of putting 10 or 20. We had to restructure the idea and the land. We got 21 rows of more or less 20 meters long each . "
There, he continued recounting the southerner, they effectively began to develop the incipient vineyard that finally grew to 240 vines . All this began in 2018, so over the years they have been adding more plantations to their small farm. The surprise, he recalls, was when the first clusters came out because there was not only Bonarda, but also Malbec .
"A friend offered us to make a patero wine. Because in fact there are vines in Malargüe and families prepare it for home consumption, but until now it had not been industrialized ," Montanari remarked.
-How many wines are you currently producing?
-Last year we harvested 350 kilos of grapes. Carlos Lalic, who has a winery, took some samples. Our idea was to mix it with one from Alvear and get more liters. But he wanted to do something exclusive to Malargüe. With that harvest we obtained 120 bottles of 750 cubic centimeters each. It is a limited production.
-It emerged as a family business and among friends then...
-Yes, in addition to the family among the friends they have been contributing and nobody has received anything. A niece designed the label for us, another friend printed it and didn't want to charge us either. We really didn't think it was going to be such a good quality wine, it was really liked.
-Are they already registered in the National Institute of Viticulture?
-Since everything was given and how we like to manage ourselves, we registered it in the INV. They came to do the inspection. It was there that we detected that 50% of the plants are Bonarda and 50% Malbec. So what we made was a blend.
-What is the projection for 2021, are you going to market it?
-The 120 bottles we made are already running out, but of course the idea is to increase production. It happened to us that the malbec matured before the bonarda, which we did not know was the case, and it took us a while to harvest it. So this year, when the malbec is ready, we are going to harvest it and make it.
With which, we think that the production for this year will be greater. Because we also want to plant more plants and market it . There are even restaurants that have asked us for exclusivity.
-It is unavoidable to consult him because of the situation that Malargüe is experiencing, which is unable to advance in projects that generate sources of work . They claim that they cannot do mining, Portezuelo del Viento either for the moment. What do you read that you have lived there for more than 30 years?
-My son has a degree in Environmental Management, I have an overview on the subject. We are not against mining , in fact there are plasterers that sell a lot in bulk and for the agricultural sector. There are mining factories working in Malargüe. What we do not want, and we understand the protests in this sense, is that the mega-companies that come do not leave anything to the department.
In short, that means that it has not grown as it should be. A company that produced iron for many years sent it to Germany. I consider that in Malargüe it is necessary to diversify production . It is a very generous area but you have to work and open up possibilities.
All of us merchants are making a tremendous effort to keep employees and there are large companies that only have 20 or 25 people. So it's like we're banking a situation and the municipality, the rest. Malargüe has given a lot and continues to give. 60% of oil is locally produced -for example-. But we do not see it distributed in works or in anything. The situation is difficult.