Published May 16, 2005

Today I made a mistake. We went to the Vinos Concha y Toro vineyard, and I thought we’d be there just for meetings and speeches; instead, we got a tour of the whole complex. And me not with my camera! So there will be no photos of Concha y Toro. Nor will there be — and I doubt you’ll be unhappy about this — any photos of the teams presenting to Bice Bank or Banco Santander Santiago. (Yes, we are here to give real actual consulting presentations!)

So, first, the presentations. Basically, each team had to research a specific business question put to it by the client, and come back with a presentation (in English). The Bice presentation was good, the Santander team really raised the bar for all of us. The bank employees were not as strong presenters, I think, as we were — or, otherwise, what makes a good presenter in Chile is different than what makes a good presenter in the US (a reasonable assertion since a competent speaker in French will say “euh” or “donc” a lot, and be respected for it, but an American needs to learn not to say “uh”). In both cases, we learned a lot about banking, a lot about the domestic market in Chile, and we got to see downtown during a bustling Monday morning!

Following the presentations, we drove out of the city, towards the Andes, to visit Concha y Toro. Views of a typical mid-European city changed into a dry, high Alps-type maze of small valleys among steadily rising hills. Along the way we stopped at a pretty restaurant overlooking a bubbling stream, that served horribly overcooked meat and really tasty onion, olive, and egg empañadas.

Concha y Toro was something special, and I wish I’d had the foresight to buy more film and bring my camera. The location looked a lot like northern Italy, with mountains, a generally dry climate, hardy trees with leaves turning orange for the fall, local coniferous trees, and even Great Egrets swooping by a pond. The buildings on the winery were made in the Northern Italian or, maybe, Northwest Spanish, style, with stucco and stone walls and heavy timber and arched windows and fountains and statues. The grounds were green — plants had been imported to stay green year-round — and well-landscaped, although not in the ornate French manner.

We got to taste three wines:

  • A very young Sauvignon Blanc, with a strong smell and flavor of apple and a very salty aftertaste (because its terroir was coastal, apparently).
  • A young Cabernet Sauvignon, with an incredible peppery smell but no spice in its taste, just prunes and oak.
  • A Carmenera, a treat in itself. The Carmenera grapes had been though killed by a pest in France, and the wine was throught to be lost, until some vines that had been though to be another varietal in Chile were found to be Carmenera. I can say that, had that wine been extinct, it would have been a true loss to the world. While hte Carmenera was also young (apparently Chileans like their wine young), it had a flavor beyond its years and was very suitable for serving with meats. The nose was of chocolate and the taste a smooth, round chocolate and oak that would overpower nothing but compliment much.

All three wines were of Concha y Toro’s Casillera Del Diablo, or Devil’s Cellar, marque. We actually got to see this casillera, under the winery’s original building. The legend is that Sr. Concha y Toro found that the locals were stealing some of his wine from his cellar as the vintage aged, so, to end this theft, he spread the rumor that the Devil lived in the cellar. And the cellar was spooky enough, dark and long, with vaulted celings made of brick joined with cal y canto, a mortar made of limestone, sand, and egg whites. Truly, a frightening waste of food.

After a nap on the long bus ride home, the evening ended with a lovely meal of conger eel with fries, and the completion of our presentation, due Thursday am. And now, in common with the PRIME policy of fire and motion, I’m to pack up my clothes so that we can get the hell out of Santiago after a day and a half of business and fly over to São Paulo, where, we can only assume, it doesn’t suck so much.


oh my gosh thats the wine with the little plastic bull on it isnt it
and my number one lesson lately (there have been several): bring your camera everywhere. even to the laudromat, the grocery store, the toilet

i posted you some p0rn because you were so nice last night

nice. i’m glad your friends can supply you with porn. see ya.