Spanish wine specialist Félix Solís Avantis has opened a winery in Chile, called Viña Casa Solís, as part of a €45 million investment. Executives told Drinks Retailing the winery, which has an initial capacity of 20 million litres, is part of a “significant new project” for the company.

International sales director Félix Solís Ramos said the new facility opened at the end of March, with the intake of the 2024 harvest.

“It’s a project we started around three years ago,” he said. “It’s something unique, I think, because with foreign wineries, what they usually do when they go to a different country is buy an existing site. In our case, we started from scratch.”

The site, which is about 100km south of Santiago, features technology and machinery shipped from Europe.

“We brought more than 160 tanks by boat,” added Ramos.

The group will operate with a similar business model to Spain, which includes buying in grapes.

“It’s a brand new, state-of-the-art winery,” added the company’s UK managing director Richard Cochrane, “utilising the experience we have in Spain.”

Cochrane said the winery features a bottling line for region-specific wines, while wines for the European market will be shipped in bulk and bottled in Spain, according to market preferences.

“With two hemispheres, we will now get two vintages a year,” he said. “The first crush saw half of our potential capacity come through the winery doors.

“Chile is not without its challenges at the moment but for growers, having this new customer has presented an opportunity, and we have secured some great contracts.”

Cochrane said the company has been building its focus in Chile over a number of years, with the new winery “scaling it up”. He said the focus of the project is not to blend wines between Spain and Chile, but he said there would be Chilean blends as well as single varietal wines.

The first wines from the new winery include Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Sauvignon Blanc.