Paula Chodin Param and Arnaldo Batista are Vitivinícola Chodin Param, a new winemaking project in the Itata and Bío Bío valleys. Paula and Arnaldo collaborate with local winegrowers who own small centenarian plots of País and Cinsault. The emphasis is on fair trade and mutual benefit: Paula assists growers in transitioning towards organic agriculture and buys their grapes at fair prices. Rather than purchasing vineyards or planting their own, they hope to have a positive effect on the local region by assisting long-time growers, accompanying them in the vineyards, and contributing to the local area’s self-sustaining economy.
Paula trained as an agronomist and viticulturalist in Australia, then worked with different winemakers in Australia and California before returning to her native Chile. There she and her husband Arnaldo (who was born in Cuba and is also a chef and musician) worked with celebrated natural winemaker Roberto Henríquez in Bío Bío and began making their own wines. Currently, they make wine in a cellar belonging to a friend, but their goal is to increase their production and build their own bodega. They hope to cultivate more relationships with the area’s small grape farmers, to invest in the local economy, and to encourage organic agricultural practices.
In the cellar, Paula and Arnaldo follow a minimal-intervention approach. All fermentations are with native yeasts, they use almost no temperature control, and sulfur is used sparingly and only at the end of malolactic fermentation.