Alfredo Vidaurre, who died last Thursday aged 65, was described as the financial brain behind Chile’s Viña Montes.
One of the four founding partners, Vidaurre joined forces with Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray and Pedro Grand in 1988 to make world-class wines from Chile at a time when most rivals concentrated on bulk production.
An MBA graduate from the University of Chicago, Vidaurre played a key role in the winery’s expansion, helping for example to arrange financing to the tune of $11m.
British artist Ralph Steadman, who designed the labels of Montes Folly, described Vidaurre as ‘the third, inspired partner of this trinity, a Shakespearean accountant no less, who balances their books like poetry and tempers their raw animal enthusiasm with a financial whip.’
Steadman added – perhaps incomprehensibly – ‘Though I must, just for the record, say that Alfredo, a decent and reasonable man, compulsively makes strange and provocative duck noises when he enters a room. I have been there on many occasions. I have heard them.’
Over the years Viña Montes has won a clutch of prestigious awards, including Decanter World Wine Awards trophies. Its Alpha range is widely recognised as one of the finest wines in South America.
Vidaurre’s partners paid tribute to his professional support and enthusiasm. ‘Alfredo will always be with us,’ Murray told El Mercurio.
In addition to a successful career in the wine industry, Vidaurre had a parallel life as an academic. He was a professor, and the youngest-ever dean of the Catholic University of Chile from 1971 to 1973, as well as a government adviser and an entrepreneur.
Vidaurre’s funeral took place on Saturday at the parish church of San Francisco de Sales in Vitacura, Chile.
He is survived by his wife Maria Isabel Fresno – who was the first female director at Viña Montes – and their three children, Catalina, Cristian and José Tomas.
Written by Jo Iivonen