Quench Me: Gonzalo Bertelsen
Gonzalo Bertelsen is Chief Winemaker and General Manager at Finca El Origen winery in Argentina. Having completed his studies in Viticulture and Enology in Chile, Gonzalo travelled the world, working as a winemaker in France, Spain, the US, Australia and finally landing in Argentina.
What brought you to Finca El Origen?
After 3 years living, working and studying for a Masters of Oenology in Adelaide, Australia, I went back to Chile, my native country. I was offered this position in Argentina, and it was difficult to say no because it was a great challenge from a professional and personal point of view.
Who influenced your passion for wine?
My family always had a bottle of wine on the table. I have relatives who came from France and worked as winemakers in Viña Ochagavia and Viña Errazuriz in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since I was a boy I liked wine; so I took the chance to study Agronomy and Winemaking.
Finca El Origen is a young winery. How do you see it growing over the next ten years?
We are in the process of re-designing where we want to be in the next 5 to 10 years. We have our own vineyards, and want to focus on continuing to produce the best quality wines. We will keep working as a boutique, quality- and terroir-oriented winery.
What excites you about Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec?
Well, Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of varieties and I love growing it and making these wines. It’s very challenging, especially in Mendoza. Malbec is the Queen. I don’t think today there is a better place to grow it. It’s very easy to make a very good Malbec in Uco valley. All the work and challenges are in the vineyard.
How do you manage your job as winemaker and your job as General Manager?
I could not be a General Manager without having been a winemaker. Today I can do whatever I believe is the best for the company and for the wines. As a GM I look after the company and the whole team, it’s a way to integrate everything. Its much nicer to be a Winemaker … but much more challenging to be a GM.