In Patagonia, a “chacra” is a piece of land with characteristics that make it ideal for growing fruit. According to founder Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, Bodega Chacra was established to discover the “most unobstructed expression” of the micro-climate and terrior of Mainqué in the Río Negro region of Patagonia.
At Chacra, ungrafted old vines are preserved, beekeeping is a priority, and all farming is biodynamic and organic. “We see Chacra wines as a consequence of nature and a reflection of our true respect for the ecosystem,” says Piero, grandson of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, creator of Sassicaia.
The practice of biodynamic agriculture relies on the farm to be a living, sustainable, closed ecosystem. This means that no imported or synthetic materials can be used in the practice of fertilization, pest management, or vegetation control. Instead, Piero and his team use a system of biodynamic preparations from organic matter originating on the estate. This is based on the philosophy that only a most natural environment can produce wines that distinctly translate the terroir. Piero calls this “a sustainable form of wine-making that can persist in perfect harmony with the natural environment.”
Chacra holds 24 vineyard hectares (about 60 acres), with some plantings dating back to 1932. The estate supports Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Chardonnay crafted in collaboration with Jean-Marc Roulot. Vegetables, aromatic herbs, 4,000 blooming rosebushes, and 2,500 lavender plants thrive in the estate’s gardens. Goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and dogs also live on the farm and a bee habitat has been preserved and created. The wax from the beehives is even used as capsules on wine bottles! Piero planted 37,000 poplar trees around the estate to protect the land from powerful wind and sun and dozens of wild creatures and plants live on or pass through the property.
For many, Patagonia is stuff of bucket list dreams. Located on the southernmost portion of South America, the region is part Argentina and part Chile, with the Andes Mountains drawing up the boundary line. Rio Negro, where Chacra exists, is located in Argentina along a green belt of river and canals in an otherwise desert environment.
For those who love South American wines, this spot is a unique space that will provide a dynamic outlook on the natural beauty of Argentina. Located south and east from the more well-known Argentine wine regions and more north and east from the famous Patagonia hiking and trekking sites, this sanctuary is unlike anything even experienced travelers have witnessed. This is one of the reasons why Piero is an advocate of purity in farming and cellar work—the Chacra atmosphere is priceless!