WINES OF THE HUNEEUS FAMILY
Agustin Huneeus is the proprietor for Quintessa, one of the Napa Valley’s most highly regarded wineries. One of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to the wine industry, Agustin began his more than 50-year career in the city where he was born – Santiago, Chile.
Agustin entered the Chilean wine business in 1960 as chief executive officer of Concha y Toro. At the time a small winery, Concha y Toro grew under his leadership to become Chile’s largest winery. In 1971, Chile’s difficult political climate led Agustin to leave his home country. He moved to New York and subsequently headed Seagram’s worldwide wine operations, which included fourteen wineries in nine countries, including Paul Masson in the United States. Upon leaving Seagram, he founded Noble Vineyard in California’s Central Valley in 1977 and later acquired Concannon Vineyard, a premium winery in the Livermore Valley.
In 1985, Agustin became partner and acting president of Franciscan Estates. While there, he developed numerous brands and wineries, turning the ailing company into a successful group of premium wine estates. These estates included Franciscan, Estancia, Mount Veeder, and Veramonte Winery in Chile, which he created. In 1999 he sold his interest in Franciscan Estates and created Huneeus Vintners, a company dedicated to fine wine properties. Included in this group are, Quintessa, Faust, Illumination and The Prisoner Wine Company (The Prisoner, Saldo, Blindfold, Cuttings, and Thorn) in Napa; Flowers Vineyard & Winery on the Sonoma Coast; and Ritual, Primus, Veramonte and Neyen wineries in Chile. Today, Agustin considers himself “liberated”, as his son Agustin Francisco now runs the family wine business.
In 1996, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Wine Spectator magazine for his “significant and long-lasting contributions to the wine industry.” In 2010, the President of Chile awarded Agustin Huneeus the country’s highest civilian honor: the Servicios Meritorios a la Republica medal, recognizing his efforts to promote the country and its wine industry on an international level.
While he was active in the wine business as an entrepreneur, Agustin also played an important role in industry affairs. He has had directorial positions in the Chilean Wine Exporters Association, The California Wine Institute, The Napa Vintners Association, and many other industry organizations. Agustin is currently a member of the Board of Stewards for The Culinary Institute of American’s Vintners Hall of Fame.
Since his liberation, Agustin has dedicated his attention and efforts to endeavors that satisfy his more humanistic interests. He sits on the Advisory Board for both the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the Friends of the Catholic University of Chile, and he is the chairman of the Chile-California Council.