5-Question Interview with VIK Chief Winemaker Cristian Vallejo

  • 1. Do you have any harvest rituals?
  • I shovel out the first tank. It’s a way for me to be in contact with the grape skins and to show everybody that we all work hard. My hands are no longer wine stained, but they used to be purple the whole harvest. I want them to know that.
    “We start the harvest with a team meeting so everyone knows how important their work is, and we always end with a barbecue or an asado.”
  • 2. What challenging about harvest?
  • What is challenging is that this is the moment where the whole thing succeeds or fails. At a vineyard everything is about making the right decision in the moment: planting, pruning, harvesting, barrel selection. You make a mistake and you cannot do anything about it. You’re always working toward the future.
    Maybe more than challenging, it’s exciting. Harvesting is exciting. Pruning is exciting. Learning from older vintners about how they overcame certain vintage challenges is exciting. Looking forward to the next step is always exciting.
  • 3. Do you have special rules that apply to the harvest?
  • Yes. We are here 24-7. That means - no girlfriends, no boyfriends, no holidays, no Sundays. You give the harvest your heart, soul and passion. New team members complain, “But I need my Sundays!” I tell them, “You know, yeasts don’t know about Sundays. The harvest is your moment. You only have so many harvests in your life so you have limited opportunities to get this right. You have to focus on what you’re doing. It requires commitment of your passion, your soul and your mind. Then they realize it.”
  • 4. What makes VIK unique compared to other top vineyards you've worked?
  • I’ve worked in Chateau Margaux, Château LeoVille Poyferre in Medoc and Château Berliquet in Saint Emilion, and learned a lot from these great wineries. Terroir is what distinguishes VIK Millahue. Millahue delivers a deeply-hued elegant Cabernet Sauvignon like those of Margaux but at the same time is tense and dynamic. The tannins are soft and silky like those of Saint Emilion while also achieving an aromatic intensity enhancing wine’s complexity.

    Finally, I believe this terroir shares a solemnity and elegance with Medoc and the subtlety and finesse of Saint Emilion, with the added new world charm of perfume which makes this wine particularly soulful. In Millahue, I find exceptional, singular wines displaying the depth of Bordeaux enhanced by the vibrancy of the new world.

    Equally exciting is the generous, supple and exciting Cabernet Franc that this same terroir yields. Distinguished by minerality and elegance, I’ve not found its equal.
  • 5. Share a favorite harvest story
  • Everything comes full circle. A son of a Catalan winemaker worked last year’s harvest. In 2001, I worked for his father, when this young man was just five-years old. This young winemaker spent a weekend with my family and became friendly with my 5-year old child. I think maybe 15 years from now, my child will make wine with him.

    When he was here, we were vinifying our first rosé. I pointed to the white foam rimming the fermentation tank, “If the foam is white it means the fermentation is going well,” I told him. “If there are brown spots, or parts with no foam, we will have problems.” He was impressed. I leaned in and whispered, “Your father taught me that secret.” Isn’t it beautiful how everything comes back to its roots?


Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fathom, and Robb Report are raving about our vineyard-side luxury glass bungalows. Click the magazine title to discover why.


The muse takes many forms including books, art, music, film, and poetry. Current muses inspiring the Vik team include:

Elena Trailini uses pierced gold leaf in all of her art, both figurative and abstract. Her passion, exceptional talents and heart are visible in her creative process. Alex Folla is painting the reception by creating a world of gods, titans and Amazonian women with deep allegorical meaning. Classically trained, her incredible depth of knowledge and extraordinary skill adds a contemporary flair to classically inspired art. Both artists are crafting unique pieces for Galleria Vik Milano.


Green Harvest /grin hɑrvəst/

The removal of unripe (aka green) clusters of grapes from the vine to reduce yields, improve air-flow through the leaf canopy management, and concentrate ideal maturation of the remaining grape clusters. Green harvesting is typically done around veraison (on-set of grape ripening noted by a color change of the berries) and may be done multiple times during the growing cycle to ensure harvested fruit have optimum ripeness.

“We green harvested the 2019 Viña VIK vintage three times, leaving 1 perfect bunch per cane for the final harvest.”


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