Asociación Vid Seca

Secano de Cauquenes Winegrower’s Guild Association. Small-scale Producers Association. [Cauquenes, Maule Region, Chile].

Legacy c. n. Money or property  that you receive from someone after they die

Resist I. or T. v. to oppose or fight against something or someone; to refuse to give in or comply to something.

We couldn’t just shirk our responsibility of maintaining the heritage and the imprint left by each micro-entrepreneurs traditions and customs when making wine.” [Felipe Zuñiga, founding partner and enologist].

Vid Seca and its 18 partners embody the wine resistance in Cauquenes. They aim to protect the Uva País grape and the traditional winemaking techniques. Asterix and Obelix’s Gallic village springs to mind, a group of different people with a common enemy. In this case: the fierce global wine market and time. 

Seven years ago, they embarked to grasp the scope of the journey and the responsibility the protagonists of this story chose to accept. Their first step was getting to know the Uva País grape. 

The Uva País grape is a survivor and dates back nearly 200 years. It reached the Americas with the Spanish around the year 1500. It witnessed the colonial wars and survived the Phylloxera[1] plague. The insect terror of the vines never penetrated Chile in that period in which the Uva País was the dominant grape, while in the rest of the world, many other vines did not survive.

The vines’ roots can grow as much as 15 meters deep, like a symbol of its history. These dryland vines don’t require irrigation “the vines are noble, loyal to the farmers, you can leave them be two, three years, come back and expect them to be the same and start growing again.” [Víctor Mora, small-scale producer]. These vines embody human resistance and are a perfect ally in the fight against climate change. 

But this vine has endured the influence of trends. Displaced due fine vines, the “viñas fina[2]”, their price plummeted to such an extent that harvesting these grapes meant losing money. That is why the existence of the Secano de Cauquenes Winegrower’s Guild Association, along with Fairtrade support, means there’s still hope it can prevail [Francisco Ruiz, small-scale producer]. 

There’s hope this world may prevail and that the Premium[3] can help pass on the heritage that surrounds them to the new generations—with educational activities that tell the Uva País grape’s history to teenagers who might take over the care and preservation of these patrimonial vines[4]. It’s no small thing as the Uva País grape has yet another enemy: the lack of generational change. Many of them, like Fernando Henriquez and Victor Yañez (88 and 81 years old respectively), suspect with great sadness that there won’t be anyone to carry on the legacy they inherited from their parents.

Yet, at Vid Seca they don’t just protect the Uva País grape, they preserve ways of life and traditions while they innovate.

All the members harvest grapes and make their wine. I kept the traditions of my father (…) kept them as they were taught to me (…) [Victor Mora, small-scale producer]. That makes it possible to preserve and share knowledge and ways among members; while integrating new knowledge, “we learn new things” [Víctor Mora, small producer], and “winemakers today make their wines, product of the integration of technology and respect for the DNA of their traditions, incorporating things that are necessary today” [Felipe Zuñiga, founding partner and winemaker]


They are innovators and created the “Associative Wine” concept. Every year, the 18 members of Vid Seca meet up. Democratically, they bring together their expert enologist Felipe Zuñiga’s technical know-how (with more than 20 years’ experience) and the experience of historical practices of its 18 members. They did that to decide what wines have the best blending, bottling and exporting. The Uva País grape crosses the Atlantic. 

Let us not forget about traditions. Thanks to Vid Seca, it’s possible to end up at Miguel Bustos’ place and see a “minga”[4], which has nothing to do with conventional harvests. You get to the fields, and the exhaustion and effort required to carry the buckets are barely noticeable. You can feel the companionship and friendship, the celebration of a “family reunion, getting back together”. A party with a feast of lamb casserole, bean stew, and chuchoca[5] that the members started preparing early in the morning. 

Vid Seca’s members, the Cauquenes resistance, might manage to make time stop.


Fairtrade contributes to the Vid Seca Association to travel a path in which its 18 associates reach to export their associative wine; ensure that their historical traditions have the opportunity to endure, and can continue to innovate so that the next generations have a legacy. 

[1] The Phylloxera vastatrix is a parasite insect of the vine.

[2] In Chile, the Viñas Finas (fine vines) are those that were imported from France around the 19th century. Those vines became the dominant ones on the market and made it very difficult for the Criolla vines to prevail.

[3] The Fairtrade Premium is a sum of money that is paid in addition to the retail price of a Fairtrade certified bottle or grape. The money is then managed by the Premium Committee that is made up by a group of workers who have been elected democratically. In coordination with an Assembly composed of the company’s employees, the Committee develops social projects for its communities.

[4] Chilean Word used to describe a harvest carried out by neighbors and family members that are not paid for their work. In the minga, a chain of favors is created where people help each other with the harvest, or trade other products

[5] Traditional Chilean dish with beans and corn.


Noticias Recientes

Recibe nuestro Boletín Informativo