Success came quickly to Chile’s very first foreign investor.
In 1987, Søren took a major step forward when he became the first producer to sell bulk Chilean wines to European customers, opening a huge new market. Heading toward the 1990s, Cabernet Corporation was on a growth curve with abundant means of supply in the face of an expanding world market. The next logical step was California and the flagship brand would be La Playa – a straightforward Chilean range of generously flavored, easy-drinking varietals based on Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and something called “Carménère” a newly discovered red varietal misidentified for years as Merlot. Fast forward to today and La Playa is a 200,000 case brand. Of the 50% sold in the US, a significant portion transacts in California.
Over the years, La Playa has been joined by a stable of additional brands from Chile and more recently Argentina (Don Rodolfo), where once again Søren Axelsen was among the first outside investors, outpacing even Paul Hobbs. La Playa’s inaugural partner brand, established one price point above was Vino Eyzaguirre. Named in honor of an esteemed Spanish family, Eyzaguirre quickly claimed its own identity in the market place as the first “sack wine.” Much smaller in volume than La Playa, Vino Eyzaguirre is intended to showcase some of Colchagua Valley’s finest Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Tinga Rio Reserve is the newest Chilean addition to the Cabernet Corporation portfolio. Strategically positioned just above Vino Eyzaguirre, Tinga Rio Reserve offers a selection of modestly priced varietals from both Colchagua and Limari, two vastly different valleys. Colchagua in Chili’s middle is often compared to California’s Napa Valley. It was the first Chilean wine region to establish an international profile and it continues to be the cradle of the country’s wine production. Colchagua’s hospitable Mediterranean climate is highly conducive to quality grape growing particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carménère, while Limari to the far north and elevated favors edgy varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.