Making low-yield artisan wines isn't only Luca's passion. It's his way of life.
Born and raised in the rugged Priorat region of Catalonia, to an English dad and French mum, Luca got a winemaking Master’s degree in Bordeaux, where he lived in the middle of St Emilion. He’s since made wines on 3 continents, and speaks 5 languages fluently.
Over the years, Luca realised he had to unlearn a lot of stuff from wine school. Like using artificial additives, pesticides, man-made irrigation and fertilizers. He believes vineyards are like people. If left to nature, they have personalities that shine through in their wines.
To Luca, wine is the most social product man has ever made, pure emotion in a glass. A mirror of the soils and location it springs from. It brings our senses down to earth. With Naked funding behind him, he’ll be able to focus 100% on what he’s best at, making his old-vine Chilean classics taste as delicious as possible.
"What I hope to accomplish as an Angel funded winemaker...
1- Continuing to make wines for wine lovers and not for critics.
2- In doing so, have a positive impact in the environment.
3- Keep up with with our philosophy of low intervention in wines as well as giving the soil a chance to express itself in the different wines we make.
4- Invest in more clay & cement amphorae to ferment my red grappes and glass small recipients to keep my white wines! Materiality does matter.
5- Sleep better.
When I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life...
My first thought was: I need to work amongst and with nature.
My second reflection was: I love food and wine
The conclusion is obvious, right?
But It really all started in the Priorat, where my brothers and parents use to spend most of our week-ends, working in the vines, almond trees and olive trees. That is where I soaked into the pleasure of growing this fruits and crops surrounded by wildlife. My mother made the rest with her glorious cooking, a mixed influence of Mediterranean/French cuisine…and wine that was there at every meal, of course.
I was born and raised in Barcelona, my father is English and my mother is French. I studied in a French school in this beautiful city, spending part of my childhood in the Priorat, a now very famous wine region that at the time was forgotten.
I studied a technical degree in Bordeaux of Viticulture and Oenology, living pretty much in the middle of St Emilion. After which I went to Toulouse to study the Oenologist National Diploma. By instinct I was looking for alternative viticulture techniques (organic) that respected the environment. I did a Master’s degree of Viticulture and Oenology back in Bordeaux that was focused on the environment. It did not help!
I was always shocked to see that at university they taught us to apply dangerous pesticides and insecticides (dangerous for us and the environment) as if they were no alternative. From there on my shock became the consciousness that this was completely wrong and since then my objective has been to work against this establishment. It has now become obvious to me that education is the prolongation of a system of production that is oblivious of its effects on environment and humans.
That is why I travelled doing harvests around the world (France, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina) trying to acquire more knowledge and experience about organic/biodynamic viticulture. Until I founded with my best Chilean friend Jose Miguel Sotomayor: Wildmakers.
Wildmakers started as a consulting company until we also started to make our wines.
I love being a winemaker. Basically it’s the the hedonistic research for pleasure combined to the connection to nature, and how my activity can positively impact our environment. I like to create pleasure being an active actor of improvement of the planet we live in!
I have dived into Garnacha and Cariñena since my very early beginnings, probably because they are the main Priorat varieties. I think they are just so perfectly balanced, and have such a connection to the soil where they are grown. It makes them to me really interesting to work with.
The part that I like most about these varietals is that I can work with very low sulphur because they have such a good natural acidity, that the wines are self-protected by it. Therefore, I can make wines guaranteed no sulphur-related headaches!
The most determining moment for me was when I was offered a very good position at a prestigious winery in Chile. At the time I was in a middle of a Sabbatical year somewhere between China and South Africa. Everything seemed perfect and the beginning of my work was settled with quite some anticipation. I organized my life around it, hired a house, bought a car, got my things together there.
A few days prior to the beginning of my employment contract, the winery decided they were not going to employ me for financial reasons. It was quite a shock! I was shattered for a few days, but it helped me take the best decisions of my life…
-Start making your own wines.
-Don’t employ yourself to anybody but your projects.
I think that when you have the chance of doing what you love, no matter how bad things go for for you, and thanks to the support of my wife and friends, all sorrow moments become less difficult. After this, I have spent many months with no income, I have worked with consulting in projects I really never shared the vision of, just to put all the money in the Wildmakers project with my partner Jose Miguel S. Between the 2 of us we have managed to push it until today at least!
The first time we made wine in Chile independently, that is back in 2008 (a long time ago!). I invited a bunch of friends to harvest with me, and we had there many different nationalities picking grapes and crushing them just for the fun of it (Brazilians, French, Spanish, Chilean, English, Italians…). It all became a great party that resulted in only one barrel of Cariñena. We did not sell a bottle, and we drunk it all between our friends, but it became the milestone of this vineyard for us. 6 years later, I went back there with the firm intention of elaborating this wine and re-creating this wine that I remembered so freshly in my mind.
When you are an entrepreneur and work through your passion, one of the most energy consuming issues is finding the money to develop your project. I don’t own a property, nor a house, I actually own nothing at all, and banks hate me for this. Having the funding problem solved is the perfect thing to concentrate on what I am good at, and only this! I can suddenly only focus 100% on the quality
I was contacted by Naked Wines just at the right time…! I think it was a very tough year and without this prospect I could not imagine what would have happened to our wines…
Thank you Angels, I hope you will love what we make! "
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