Alberto Siegel was born in Santiago in 1946, the third generation in Chile of an Austrian family. His grandfather was an Austrian architect that built some very important and traditional buildings in downtown Santiago, at the beginning of the 20th century, including the Chilean Federal Reserve. His father, Don Germán, was a viticulturist that spent most of his career in charge of Viña San Pedro's vineyards near the town of Molina, 140 miles south of Santiago. There Alberto grew up, literally in the middle of the vines. It was not a surprise when he decided to study Agronomy and specialize in winemaking at the Universidad Católica in Santiago.
Alberto Sr. (right) and Alberto Jr. (left)
Together with his father, Alberto founded Viña Siegel (now Siegel Family Wines) in 1980. They started planting vineyards in Colchagua and building the Winery in Santa Cruz. When Don Germán died in 1998, Alberto became the owner, together with his family. In the beginning, Viña Siegel only sold bulk wines to the biggest Chilean wineries, like Concha y Toro, San Pedro and Santa Rita. In 1997, Alberto decided to enter the bottled wines business and made the necessary investments to go ahead with this project.
The Colchagua valley is located in the Central Zone of Chile. It is a 'Transverse Valley", which means that it is a valley formed by a river, in this case the Tinguiririca, running east-to-west towards the ocean. The valley cuts out at a ridge or mountain at right angles. The Colchagua valley is the leading fine-wine producing region in Chile.
Siegel Vineyards - Colchagua Valley
It is in this valley where Alberto Siegel grew his first vines, which would later become Siegel Wines. Now they have more than 700 hectares (1,729 acres) planted, which are located in the Andean foothills and the coastal zone of the valley. Their vineyard sites are:
- Los Lingues is one of Siegel's principal vineyards, consisting of 170 hectares (420 acres). It is in Los Lingues, Alto Colchagua, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. It has a Mediterranean microclimate typical of the Andean foothills. Los Lingues is the Mapuche name for a tree. The soils in Los Lingues are characterized by having excellent drainage and are of Alluvial (deposited by water) and Colluvial (deposited by gravitational forces) origin. There is little organic and fertile material. Viña Siegel has found more than 60 different types of soil here. The exceptional combination of rocky soils is perfect for varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Petit Verdot and Grenache, while the moderately deep clay soils are ideal for Carménère, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Malbec. The climate and soils of Los Lingues give rise to more structured wines, with great body and color, smooth tannins of dry fruit and an exceptional balance.
- El Crucero in Palmilla has 60 hectares (148 acres) of Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines produced from this vineyard are highly concentrated, with mature fruits and very sweet tannins. El Crucero experiences a very diverse climate, warmer during the day and very cold at night. It is grown on alluvial soils, created from the waters of the mountain range.
- San Alberto de Peralillo vineyard is located 6km inland from Peralillo in a sector called Parrones, at the extreme west end of the Colchagua Valley, an ideal place due to its coastal-influenced climate. The soils originate from the large volcanic eruptions of the 'Ring of Fire' in the high Andes Mountains. 205 hectares (506 acres) planted with 8 different varieties.