My name is Vinka Danitza. I was born in one of the most remote and isolated countries in the world, Chile. Some call Chile “el último rincón del mundo” (the last corner of the world); surrounded by the humbling Andes mountains to the east, the ferocious Pacific Ocean to the west, the vast Atacama desert to the north and ice and penguins to the south. It is a long and narrow country that clings to the west side of South America, so far removed that the destructive 19th century epidemic Phylloxera, which decimated most of the vineyards throughout the world, never reached Chile due to its geographic inaccessibility. While Chileans may have been spared the hardships of Phylloxera and boast of original vitis vinifera grapevines, Chile is not without its own suffering and pain. The Pinochet dictatorship, which destroyed people, families and decimated one of the longest democratic systems in South America, was also responsible for the exile and migration of many people, including my family. So it was that at a very young age I was uprooted from my native country of Chile and replanted in the Canadian Shield, landing first in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but then ultimately settling in Toronto, Ontario.
I cannot imagine being anything else except Chilean-Canadian, Canadian-Chilean or Chileandian, if you will. I may not walk, talk or act like a typical Chilean or Canadian (on top of that my name suggests eastern European origins) but I am still of these two places. I place a lot of importance on my roots and my home because they have been essential to my growth and have combined to make me who I am today. Like wine, our roots and our home, or our terroir, give us that uniqueness that cannot be replicated. Having spent a good part of the last ten years living in Spain, Argentina, and New Zealand, I have learned to appreciate my Canadian-Chilean hybridity. And it is with this hybrid perspective and nomadic spirit that I share these wine insights with those willing to read, learn, and experience.