We began Garage Wine Co. with the idea of making wine on a small scale, a personal scale, by hand with the family. It was (and still is!) physical work, and a therapeutic complement to the hustle and bustle of the now not so new millenium. Few in Chile, back then, knew what a “garagiste” was, nor were they familiar with the gringo tradition of celebrated companies having began “in the garage”. Viñas in Chile were large corporate affairs, named after saints and owned by clubby families with long names full of double rr’s who presided over a rather closed circle. We patented the name Garage Wine Company and went to work, quietly but surely, content to make wine barrel by barrel and selling it amongst friends and family.
Work went on year after year and Garage Wine “the hobby” grasped a firmer hold on family finances with each subsequent harvest. At work, we began having to explain that our hands were stained with the pressings– as they looked aghast at our deep purple-hued palms. One year we started to sell wine to strangers and they contentedly scooped it up for twenty dollars a bottle. The same year a client at work, whilst perusing my hands, did not frown but rather smiled and announced that he heard of the Garage Wine, and asked how might he acquire a few cases. Soon articles began to appear about a “coveted urban myth” of garage wines that minted our humble garage as a denim-clad David figure up against the enormous odds of agro-industrial giant Goliaths.
All three of us had worked for various large wineries directly or indirectly during the boom, and we had come to view the industry as makers of great values, but products made to specs for supermarkets rather than anything with real volition. Fortunes were being spent building architectural wonders for trophy wineries too but most were just simply too big to reflect anything personal. We saw opportunity to make a space.
As Garage Wine Co. wines found their way onto the menu of a half a dozen restaurants (and Portillo [ski resort] that insisted we visit often), we began to have contact with others doing what we were doing on a similar scale. In our minds, the emergence of Davids, (we were not alone we fast found out), was a healthy notion. Some were accomplished winemakers from the industry who had become independents and others were: lawyers, photographers, ex-pat miners and an Italian Count… …in short we liked their wines; they were different. We liked the fact that many of these other independent projects were also small. Small in fact was possible. So we began to scheme together as a group.
So in June of 2009 we became involved with eleven other small independent producers (the winemakers, the lawyer, the count et. al.) and we came together to form the Movement of Independent Vintners or MOVI. Please see more information about the independent vintners here. And/or blog posts about the forming of MOVI here.
More recent history can be read about in our blog written off and on since 2008.