ABOUT US


One of the prime areas for cool-climate grapes is the Casablanca Valley, only 70 kilometers west of Santiago and less than 25 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. The cold Humboldt Current runs off the coast, so the sea produces a cooling effect, with morning fog and low temperatures that are transmitted in our wines with bright acidity and fresh fruit.

Established in 1989 by Thierry Villard as Chile’s first family premium boutique wine company.  Over the last three decades, it has consistently been recognized as one of the best producers of the Casablanca Valley. Over the last decade, using the Valley’s exceptional terroir and unique characteristics, the new generation has introduced innovating winemaking techniques to create new super premium wines of structure and elegance.

By Jean-Charles Villard

My father "Thierry Villard" who was born in France but lived most of his youth in Switzerland and some time in England at college.  He left home at 19 years old to discover the world. By the age of 20 he was in Australia and after a year decided to go to South America.  He reached Panama by boat where he got off, making his way all the way down to Chile where he met my mother.   They got married in Santiago after 7 months, and then the ceremony was repeated in Paris where their adventure would start in 1972.

 

They bought a Volkswagen Beetle and drove their way through to Kabul in Afghanistan but had to sell the car as the war between Pakistan and India had closed the border.  So they continued their journey by public transports through Asia to Singapore where they embarked on a ship to Perth in Australia and from there across the country to Melbourne in Victoria where they met up with my mother’s brother, a qualified oenologist, who had immigrated to Australia the year before, on my father’s recommendation.

Soon in 1973 Thierry started working at Orlando Wines, one of the largest Australian winery, to develop the newly created division of imported wines and spirits in Melbourne.  He gained experience in sales in the On trade, Off trade, Major Customers, Wholesalers, then transferred as sales manager to Morris Wines, a boutique winery, subsidiary of the group, before returning to Orlando a year later as sales manager of Victoria.


1980 He was transferred to the head office in Adelaide as product manager in the marketing department, in charge of the imports division, Premium Wines and the boutique winery Morris Wines.


1981 Same functions plus Marketing Manager for Exports. Creation of the Export department and first customers. 


1984 Concentrating work on exports and leaving responsibilities for the national market.  As Export manager he establishes a network of importers, agents and distributors in Asia, Europe and the USA.

 Launching in the UK the first media campaign outside of Australia for Jacob’s Creek. During the 70's & 80's, the family went on several trips to Chile for holidays, where Thierry met again with his many acquaintances and friends in the wine industry. As time went on, he felt more and more that he should start his own wine company and that it should be in Chile. By 1988 he was convinced, that the Country was on a sound economic path and that the Chilean wine industry would become the "new discovery" in European markets.  So at the end 1988 he resigned and left Australia to start a new venture in Chile. 

 

In early 1989 he arrives in Chile with his wife and two sons, born and raised in Australia, and leaving behind an established way of life.

 

He first works as export consultant for various wineries in Chile, such as CyT and Emiliana, amongst others. The objectives were to open new markets, create world brands and try to raise the image of Chile as a producer of fine wines.  That year he also creates Villard Fine Wines, to produce Premium Wines. 

In parallel he also is representing Nadalié barrels from France, and then establishing a joint venture with Nadalié to produce barrels in chile for the wine industry but also to chose the best oak and custom make them for each of our wines.

 

Today it is a mayor actor on the Chilean market and is run by my older brother Sebastian.

Thierry’s main goal was to produce premium Whites and Pinot Noir, which were practically non-existent in Chile at that time.  The Casablanca Valley had all the climatic attributes to produce the grape varieties which interested him.  There was the additional challenge of being somewhat a pioneer in a virgin territory, as in the early 90’s, the Casablanca Valley was totally unknown and only a few growers and wineries were showing interest in its potential.

As you can imagine I grew up in a wine environment.

I studied 3 years of agriculture in Chile and then 2 years of Viticulture and Oenology in Bordeaux.

  • In 2000 at the age of 22 I did my first harvest overseas at  the Mc Williams winery in the Hunter Valley Australia.
  • Then in the year 2001 in South Africa at Villiera Estate.
  • 2002 Bordeaux at Vignobles Despagne.
  • 2003 again at Vignobles Despagne for the Girolate project.
  • 2004 Chateau Palmer, Bordeaux.
  • 2005 started working with my family at Villard.
  • 2005 in Emilia Romana, Italy at La Stoppa winery.
  • 2007 in Beaujolais with Christophe Pacalet and Marcel Lapierre.
  • 2009 Burgundy at Chateau de la Tour at Clos Vougeot. Today I work with Anamaria Pacheco who has been the oenologist working with us since
  • 1997 and between the 2 of us we make the wines. Thierry is the great judge for final blends and wise advices that makes us a great team. With my father we take care of exports and I also take care of the domestic market. My mother surveys all the administration and logistics.

 

We are really a family boutique winery very unique in Chile as usually they are big corporate companies.