Rodrigo Soto: finding a sense of place

When talking to most winemakers, they tell me that one of their goals is to make wines that represent the place they are from.

But first, the winemaker must find his or her place. How does one decide where to make wine? In their home country? In a foreign place? In a well-known region or a lesser-known region?

Winemaker Rodigo Soto

Winemaker Rodrigo Soto spent 15 years working alongside some of the leading pioneers in the New World, but today he can say that he has found his sense of place with Ritual Winery in his home country of Chile.

Soto was born and raised in Chile. After studying agronomy in university, he knew he did not want an office job. So he found a job as a winemaker, which combined academics and intuition.

During his winemaking studies, Soto wrote his thesis on organic pest control. He was able to run trials at Carmen Vineyards with winemaker Alvaro Espinoza, Chile’s leading pioneer in organic and biodynamic viticulture.

After his studies, Soto worked harvest in 1998 at Fetzer in California. In 1999, he spent a harvest at Wither Hills in Marlborough, New Zealand, followed by a harvest at Ceago Vineyards in California.

In 2000, Soto returned to Chile to design Matetic Vineyards and spent six years building Matetic, the first organic wine in Chile, and one of Chile’s leading producers of terroir-driven pinot noir.

In 2006, Soto returned to California as head winemaker at leading organic producer Benziger Family Winery where he learned the fine art of biodynamics.

Desiring to return home to Chile, Soto took the position of head winemaker for the Huneeus wines of Chile in 2012.

Read the complete story in the Napa Valley Register.