Where It All Began: The History of Berlin Tasting

Inspired by Stevie Spurrier’s 1976 Judgment of Paris, a Chilean wine producer and president of Viña Errázuriz Eduardo Chadwick invited on January 23, 2004, the most incredible wine critics, journalists, and members of the wine world to a blind tasting of Italian and French wines to demonstrate the quality of Chilean wines.

Did you know?

In brief, the Judgment of Paris is the historic tasting held in 1976 by the English critic Steven Spurrier. A select group of French experts blindly tasted the best Bordeaux and Burgundy wines from France alongside Californian reds and whites. And the Americans took the first places, and that result revolutionized the wine market.

Eduardo Chadwick risked all his chips in the famous Cata de Berlin or Berlin tasting, the tasting that placed, side by side, his Chilean labels and French 100-point icons at Robert Parker, such as Château Lafite-Rothschild 2000, Château Margaux 2000, and 2001 and others like Château Latour 2000 and 2001 and the Italian super-Tuscan Solaia.

To the surprise of many, the result of the tasting was in favor of the South Americans. In first place came the Viñedo Chadwick 2000 and in second place Seña 2001, both Chilean wines.

Eduardo Chadwick has established himself as a rising star in the wine world. Elected by the English magazine Decanter as one of the 50 most influential personalities in the wine market and has seen its production and the prices of its wines increase daily.

On November 7, 2005, it was São Paulo’s turn to receive the second version of this challenge. A group of forty journalists and oenophiles met at Empório Santa Maria to point out, among the ten wines served, which were the three best. The experience here, however, had different results.

In the first place went a French: the Château Margaux 2001, in second, the Viñedo Chadwick 2000 vintage 2009, the winner in Berlin and, in third, the Seña 2001.

After these two experiences, he held 15 more events in different markets, such as Tokyo (2006), Toronto (2006), Copenhagen and Beijing (2008), London (2009), New York (2010), Moscow (2012), Dubai (2013) ) always with surprising results in the comparison of super-Chileans with reds from Bordeaux, Tuscany, and even California, in the US competition.

In total, more than 1400 wine experts participated in the blind tastings. They positioned the Chilean wine market among the top three in 20 of 22 events, with an average of 90% preference, placing Chile among the main wine producers of the world.

The Chilean wines that stood out in the blind tastings were the Chadwick, Seña, and Don Maximiano wines, made by Viña Errázuriz, founded in 1870 by Don Maximiano.

Don Maximiano was a Chilean businessman of great vision. Already in 1870, he built a cellar that allowed the storage of a total of 6 million liters and was one of the first to cultivate French grapes in the region of the Aconcagua Valley.

In 1873, Vinã Errázuriz already had 300 hectares, irrigation canals, and even a model city baptized Villa Errázuriz, with a church, schools, and houses for working families.

Did you know?

In 1890, A Viña Errázuriz owned 700 hectares of vineyards, making it the largest vineyard area in the world in the hands of a single owner.

One of the main names in the history of Viña Errázuriz was Don Alfonso Chadwick, born on March 1, 1914, in Santiago. Don Alfonso was one of those responsible for the modernization of the wine industry in Chile.

In 1932, it was his first experience working with wines at Fazenda Malloa, and then at Vinhedo El Condor, Viña San Jose de Tocornal, Haciendas Esperanza until he arrived at Viña Errázuriz.

Eduardo Chadwick, son of Don Alfonso, the creator of Berlin Tasting, started working at Viña Errázuriz in 1983. He would have graduated in Civil and Industrial Engineering at the Catholic University of Chile and traveled through the main wine regions of the world to add knowledge and new techniques to implement in Chile.

On a trip to Bordeaux, he visited the Bordeaux Institute of Enology and met the father of modern enology, Émile Peynaud.

In 1995, Eduardo Chadwick, owner of Viña Errázuriz, and Robert Mondavi, wine entrepreneur, signed the first international joint venture for Chilean wine. This agreement allows the creation of Viña Seña, the first world-class wine in Chile, opening the door to producing other high-quality wines.

Eduardo Chadwick is one of the main ones responsible for changing the view of how Chilean wines were seen and showing the world the quality of the wines grown in the South American country.

Also read: Argentina and Chile Wine History

Want to read more? Try these books!

Berlin Tasting, Where It All Began: The History of Berlin TastingBerlin Tasting, Where It All Began: The History of Berlin Tasting

Categories: This Day in Wine History | ArticlesBy Published On: November 2, 2022

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