By: Patrick Winters and Guy Collins
Thomas Schmidheiny, Switzerland’s fourth-richest person has created wine operations that span four continents.
Schmidheiny speaks most enthusiastically of his vineyard in Argentina. On a trip to South America 15 years ago, he traveled from Chile to Argentina by motorcycle and fell in love with the Andes foothills around Mendoza, Argentina’s premium wine region. He told his family office to buy land -- a bare patch of hillside that he named Decero, or Spanish for “from scratch.”
“It’s the only place I know where you are the total master of your destiny,” he said of the vineyard.
The first vintage -- reds made with Argentina’s signature malbec grape as well as cabernet sauvignon -- came to market in 2008. Last year it sold 26,500 cases for about $2 million, and Schmidheiny says the venture “looks quite promising.”
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