Julio Viola

Julio Viola had a dream. He wanted to produce wines that would convey the name of Patagonia to every corner of the globe. He had an innate sense of the area’s terroir and knew he was in the right place. So he summoned a team of viticulturists to study the soil and climate to determine which varieties were best suited to their micro-region, called San Patricio del Chañar.

At the time, Patagonia was not an obvious place to grow wine. In fact, all the so-called experts advised against it. “Patagonia,” they said, “would be much too difficult to establish as a wine region.” But Julio was determined so he ignored their advice and began planting.

Having established several hectares of thriving vineyards, he convinced other courageous and passionate men and women to follow him. Today, some 20 years later, Patagonia is recognized around the world for its extraordinary wines and breathtaking landscapes. Julio Viola had a dream and he dared to live it.

Q&A with Julio Viola

Describe the “aha” moment when you first fell in love with wine.

Even before falling in love with wine, I fell in love with Patagonia. As a young boy of twelve, we traveled all the way from Uruguay to visit an Aunt living in Patagonia − back then a long journey of several days. From the moment I arrived, I was struck by the beauty of the landscape and vowed to make this region my home. This dream came true just nine years later when I moved here at the age of 21.

Do you have a philosophy of winemaking you strive to share with others?

Quality is very important to me, I constantly look for ways to improve the quality of our wines and continue to learn about what makes Patagonia unique. My philosophy is based on hard work and constant research to improve farming and make better wines.

How has the perspective of time changed your approach to wine?

I am more open-minded about certain winemaking practices now that I was earlier in my career. While I believe innovation is important, my approach to winemaking remains conservative.

Who inspires you personally — in wine or any endeavor?

Michel Rolland is not only a great enologist, he is also a great friend and inspiration.

What is the most overrated trend in wine today?

Unfortunately there are lots of overrated trends in wine these days. Most of them are harmless but I resent those that put wine quality at risk.

What new winemakers are you most excited about and why?

Argentina has a lot of promising young winemakers; all of them have a lot of talent and passion for wine. Sergio Pomar is a young talent who worked for us for several years and has great potential.

If you weren’t a winemaker what would you be doing?

I’d be fishing! I love being in nature and the peace and relaxation that comes with it.

What led you to select Nomacorc Plantcorcs?

Actually it was the younger generation who introduced me to Plantcorcs. My team already knew about Nomacorc’s quality and consistency. Once we discovered it came with zero carbon footprint, it was the sustainability attribute that appealed to me the most.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Simple, my family means everything to me. Happiness is spending time with them while on vacation by the sea.