The Dream

The Dream

We met on our first day of agronomy and winemaking studies at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and have been firm friends ever since. When we graduated in 2007, we already dreamed of making wine together, but it was clear that we needed to get out, earn an income and gain experience and so we each went our separate ways.

Natalia got a job at Viña Cousiño Macul in Buin, near Santiago, and then worked harvests at Atalon Winery in California and De Martino in Isla de Maipo, Chile. Then, in late 2008, she joined Santa Rita Estates in Curicó as assistant winemaker at Viña Sur Andino.

Meanwhile, my first job was at Viña Concha y Toro, where I helped produced the prestigious Don Melchor wine. However, determined to get as much experience as I could, I went to work harvests at Lawson´s Dry Hills in New Zealand, Kendall-Jackson at Monterey in the US, Yarra Burn in Australia, G.D.Vajra in Italy and Le Vins de Vienne in France. When I returned to Chile in 2010, fate threw Natalia and myself together again, when I got a job as assistant winemaker for Nativa Eco wines for the same wine group, Santa Rita Estates in Curicó.

Now we were living and working in close contact, we were able to start giving shape to the idea of setting up our own wine business, although it took another five years to bring it to fruition. This was also the moment when we discovered the wonderful attributes of old-vine Carignan from Maule and what incredible wines it could make.

In 2011, Natalia moved to William Cole Vineyards in the Casablanca Valley, where she worked as assistant winemaker until, in mid-2013, she decided it was time to expand her horizons. She headed off to travel the world in a trip that combined tourism, wine tourism, and winery work, visiting Europe, Asia and Australia, where she harvested grapes at the Shaw + Smith vineyards. She returned to Chile in mid-2014 and soon afterwards joined the team at the Casa Bauzá winery in Til Til, in the northern part of the Maipo Valley, as the head winemaker.

Meanwhile, in 2014, I decided to take on a different challenge and moved into the commercial area at Santa Rita Estates.

This was the moment, with Natalia back from her travels and me in my new commercial role, that we began to set up our own wine business, Moretta Wines.

In the beginning, it was a labour of love that we had to fit in alongside our full-time jobs, but we did it! Our goal was to make terroir-driven signature wines on a human scale and we launched the very first one in 2015. Needless to say, the wine, Carigno del Maule, is made 100% from Carignan, that variety we had fallen in love with back in 2010. Then, in 2016, we launched a 100% Cinsault called Vedette, followed by a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon called Ceniciento in 2017 and, in 2018, by Sintruco, a blend of four varieties.

Finally, in 2018, I was able to leave my job at Santa Rita Estates and start putting all my energy into our new venture.

We’re only just getting started, so watch this space

María José Ortúzar Alessandri