Donald Hess, owner of Bodega Colomé, has acquired another property in northern Argentina, his second in the country and seventh worldwide. Hess is adding Bodegas Muñoz to his portfolio. The facility, purchased from the Muñoz family, is in the town of Cafayate, in the province of Salta, two hours south of Colomé. It will be renamed and used to produce Colomé's growing Amalaya label.
“About a year ago we bought 380 acres of land in Cafayate, just north of town, to develop a vineyard for the Amalaya brand,” said Randle Johnson, consulting winemaker for Colomé and Amalaya. “We were going to build a winery on this site since there is plenty of water, and in late July the Muñoz family inquired if Mr. Hess would be interested in their vineyard and winery building in town."
The facility can produce 84,000 cases annually. "Along with the winery, we got an additional 185 acres of premium vineyard land, 54 acres of which are producing," said Johnson. "These grapes will certainly enhance Amalaya and may allow for new opportunities within the brand. The soils are perfect for both Malbec and Torrontés and we already have some 35-year-old Torrontés vines there.”
The Switzerland-born Hess started Colomé when he bought property up in the mountainous region of the Calchaquí Valley in Salta in 2001, after exploring the area on foot during numerous visits. The extreme altitude of the old vineyard there, 9,000 feet above sea level, intrigued him.
Aldo Luis Biondolillo — Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina — October 18, 2010 8:36pm ET
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