About the Andes Encounter

The Andes Encounter, brought to you by Kobrand, features some of the most awarded and respected South American Wineries today. A diverse range of wines and styles demonstrate what these unique terroirs on either side of the Andes can do. The great people behind the wineries tour the U.S. telling their pioneering stories and discussing how they continue to push the envolope, from planting at elevation, to grape selected, sustainable farming, and corporate social responsibility.

We hope you enjoy meeting these remarkable producers and tasting their amazing wines.

The Wineries

Bodega Norton
Mendoza, Argentina

Over more than 125 harvests, Norton has evolved to become a leader in modern viticulture and winemaking in Argentina, elevating the quality of wines from the estate and the region. Founded in 1895, Bodega Norton is one of the most awarded Argentine wine brands in the U.S. Bodega Norton combines a modern, state-of-the-art facility with a rich heritage and old world charm.

Michael Halstrick

Michael Halstrick

Owner / CEO, Norton

Part of the Swarovski family, Michael studied at the University of Boston and lived all over the world before discovering his deep love for Argentina. For the past 24 years, Michael has lived in Mendoza ever since his father, Gernot Swarovski, invested in the winery and Michael was appointed CEO. He describes Argentina as a ¨fountain of opportunities¨ and has dedicated himself to ensuring Norton becomes a byword for excellence. In 2003, his hard work was acknowledged when he was named ‘Businessman of the Year’ in Vitiviniculture Industry magazine. When Michael takes time away from the winery, he can be found spending his free time with his wife, who is an Argentinean lawyer, and their two daughters.

Alta Vista
Mendoza & Salta, Argentina

Established in 1998, Alta Vista is a French family-owned winery that focuses on the production of high altitude, site-specific wines. The family’s winemaking knowledge and passion, developed over a nearly 200 year ownership of the famous champagne house Piper-Heidsieck, brought them to the top growing regions of Mendoza, an area best suited for the creation of expressive, terroir-driven wines.

Patrick d'Aulan

Patrick d’Aulan

Owner, Alta Vista

Alta Vista owner Patrick d’Aulan comes from one of Europe’s great aristocratic families, with lineage extending back to 13th Century European nobility. Count Patrick d’Aulan’s family owned the renowned Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck for nearly a century and a half until it was sold in 1998. In Paris, Patrick graduated with a master’s degree in international law, and he then decided to add to his family’s great achievements in the wine world.

In 1997, Patrick met the highly-reputed Bordeaux winemaker Jean-Michel Arcaute, who was twice named Winemaker of the Year by Robert Parker, and the two began working together. They started an extensive search across the globe for a country where they could make wines that would faithfully express terroirs with the highest possible quality. Eventually, they discovered distinctive vineyards of exceptional character in Argentina.

In 1998, Patrick and Jean-Michel purchased a small, 15-acre vineyard of Malbec vines that were planted in 1923 in the Las Compuertas district. The goal of their project was to use an optimal combination of Argentine knowledge of Malbec and French winemaking philosophy. Alta Vista, and the winery’s flagship wine Alto, were born. At the time, Argentina was known for making mass produced wines rather than wines with high quality; the debut release of Alto 1998 was a sea change for Argentina’s wine industry. The entire production of Alto 1998 sold out in a few hours, and today, this sought-after iconic wine fetches USD $350 per bottle at auction.

Following the tragic death of Jean-Michel Arcaute in 2001, Patrick d’Aulan continued the dream to establish one of the premier wineries in Argentina. In 2002, Alta Vista was the first winery in Argentina to release single vineyard Malbec wines, benchmarks for Argentina’s wine industry. Patrick transferred the trademark “single vineyard” to the state of Argentina under the condition that any wines designated as “single vineyard” must have certified origin of their designated terroirs. Today, Alta Vista owns over 500 acres of vineyards and exports 1.6 Million bottles to 36 countries around the world. In the 2009 edition of Robert Parker’s Wine Guide, Alta Vista was named among the “Top 5 Wineries in Argentina.”

Viña Montes

For over 35 years, Aurelio Montes and his partners at Viña Montes have pushed the boundaries of great winemaking in Chile. From literally seeking new heights and planting grapes at elevation in Apalta, to reviving Carmenère to a premium level of quality, to implementing sustainable winegrowing and dry farming, Montes has become a benchmark for new Chilean wineries.

Bernardo Tronsco

Bernardo Troncoso

Winemaker, Montes

In 1996, Bernardo began his studies by pursuing a degree in Agronomy. In 2001, before graduating, he decided to travel to California and work on his first harvest there, returning to Chile with enthusiasm and certainty that the world of wine was where he belonged. He graduated as an Agricultural Engineer and with Bachelors in Agronomy from the University of Talca, Chile, in 2002.

In 2003, he obtained accreditation as an Oenologist from the College of Agricultural Engineers and Oenologists of Chile, and shortly thereafter he undertook his first harvest as an Assistant Oenologist at Montes Wines. In 2005, he was chosen by Aurelio Montes to become part of the team of oenologists at the winery, which has since been his professional home.
In 2007 and 2008, he completed two internships in Portugal, actively participating in harvests in the Douro Superior region, immersing himself in the country’s winegrowing culture and gaining valuable insights for use in his work at Montes Wines.

Currently, he is in charge of one of the Montes wineries, where white, rose, sparkling, and red wines of all levels are vinified. Additionally, he is the lead oenologist for the Montes Outer Limits line, wines that showcase Montes’ innovative spirit.