A Travellerspoint blog

Cousino Macul

The Beauty of a Family Tradition

Today we had the great pleasure of visiting the Cousino Macul Winery. This scenic winery is perhaps the most beautiful, historic, and enjoyable location we have visited thus far. Our host Maria, who spoke impeccable English, gave us a tour of the winery’s original building which was built in the 1800s. This massive brick building holds humongous stores made of Chilean wood, where the grapes ferment. These containers, that hold almost 30,000 liters, are no longer in use, because fermentation now takes place in massive metal containers that are easier to control. The original storehouse, with its old brick, plaster and wood frame ceiling looked like something spectacular out of a movie. The candlelit passage to the underground storage reminded us of a scene from Zorro! The Cousino family stores decade’s old wine in a gated, dusty room. The oldest bottles on hand date back to the 1920’s.

Wine Barrels

Wine Barrels

After sampling a tasty Chardonnay and signature Cabernet, we enjoyed a three course lunch at the winery. The pumpkin soup, vegetarian pasta, and fruit dish were all delicious—much like our other meals thus far in Santiago. After lunch, we heard from a member of the Cousino family, Señora Veronica Cousino, who explained in greater detail the history of the winery and its major challenges. According to her Cousino Macul was a risky undertaking in 1856 because wine-making was not well-known in Chile, and the scientific principles behind fermentation were still being explored. Isolationism and the decrease in global trade following World War I, as well as the Chilean government’s misguided land expropriation measures in the 1960s, threatened the winery’s existence. In the 1980s, Cousina Macul modernized its wine-making facilities and prepared to compete in a global market that had become flooded with wine options from around the world. In the new millennium, the Cousino family chose to concentrate its efforts on producing smaller batches of higher quality wine, as opposed to becoming a huge winemaker.

90_photo-2.jpg

Presently, Cousino Macul harvests grapes from two separate locations in Santiago that amount to 740 total acres. They sell around 5 million bottles of wine each year, with 45% of sales coming from domestic markets and 55% of sales from foreign markets, especially the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. Cousino Macul benefits from two significant advantages. First, Cousino is a mature company for mid-size wineries so it employs operational experience. Second, Cousina enjoys brand recognition, especially among Chileans who associate the wine with fond childhood memories.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Our trip to Cousino Macul provided a glimpse into the wine-making industry—an important part of the Chilean economy. As our host said, Chile used to be rather unknown, but now it is known for its wine. Cousino Macul in particular illuminates the importance of family in Chile, as this business has been in the family since its conception. Cousino Macul is more than a wine-maker, it is a family tradition that exemplifies the very best of Chilean heritage, and the ability of the human spirit to adapt and thrive in challenging times.

Cousino Macul Winery

Cousino Macul Winery

Posted by fellows13 15:06 Comments (0)

Deloitte

Managing Cultural Differences in the Corporate Realm

Our 2nd day in Chile began with a trip to Deloitte, which was one of the most interesting and insightful corporate visits we have attended as Fellows. Our host, Omar Mata, and his colleagues, Janet Hamilton and Jacqueline O’Reilly, were all welcoming and personable. As expatriates working in Chile, they were able to provide us with useful information on what it takes to find a job abroad and the differences in corporate cultures between the United States and Chile.

picture.jpeg

Securing a Job Abroad

Securing a job abroad seems like a daunting task, when in reality, it is not as challenging as it seems. This is especially true if you want to work in a nation with a developing economy such as Chile. Senor Mata explained that the growth of the Chilean economy puts a demand on Deloitte to find educated and qualified employees willing to work abroad, thus creating new job opportunities that need to be filled. Senor Mata explained that the best way to get a job in another country is to be proactive by letting your company know you are willing to work abroad. In order to work abroad you must know the language, but you do not always have to know it prior to getting hired. Many expatriates learn the language through tutors or company classes upon arrival, which means that those of us not studying foreign languages while in college could still have the opportunity to work abroad one day.

Adaptability and Relationships

The main piece of advice given to our class by our hosts at Deloitte was to always be flexible and adaptable when working abroad. We must remember that the U.S. business model is not always the best way to run a company, and we should not force our ways onto others. In addition, although it may be normal in our corporate world to start discussing business as soon as a meeting begins in order to respect everyone’s time, this type of model will be viewed as disrespectful by Chileans. Relationships are highly important, and taking the time to build relationships and trust is important.

Quality of Life

An interesting take-away from our visit to Deloitte was that all three of our hosts believed the quality of life in Chile is actually better than that in the United States when it comes to work/life balance. The driving force behind this reality is the U.S. culture. We tend to keep busy and work at an incredibly fast pace, often working overtime and leaving little time for life outside of work. In addition, because building relationships at work and with clients is an important part of doing business in Chile, work life is can often be more enjoyable because colleagues know one another at a more personal level than in the United States.

Deloitte

Deloitte

Posted by fellows13 14:59 Comments (0)

Bienvenido a Chile!

Hablas español? Un poco.

After being awakened by the smell of reheated, not so fresh bread before any sun peeked through the airplane windows, we eventually landed and escaped our ten hour flight. After accidentally waiting in line for immigration before paying our reciprocity fee, we finally made it through customs and boarded a bus playing the not so current hit, "Play than Funky Music White Boy." We knew this was going to be quite the adventure!

Our first event of the day was lunch with Universidad Mayor student Matias. We enjoyed learning about the differences in college life at Universidad Mayor compared to TCU. For example, Matias lives at home with his family and commutes twenty minutes to school every day. This is the norm in Chile because they do not have the dorm life common in the US. His hobbies include wake boarding and skiing and we were shocked that due to Chile's diverse climate and geography he is able to drive south to ski in the morning and back to Valparaiso in the afternoon to go out on the lake. The night life in Santiago is also quite different. For instance, students don't go to "discotecas" until 2am at the earliest and often say out until at least 4am. This is drastically different from Fort Worth where everything closes by 2am. We were in awe that he could make it to class every morning on such little sleep! It was a great opportunity to learn about college life from a Chilean student's perspective. After helping us plot our scavenger hunt route, we parted ways with Matias and started trekking through Santiago mile by endless mile in hopes of winning another coveted Neeley Fellow pin...or padfolio...or coasters.

553513_366..55774_n.jpg
Universidad Mayor student, Matias!

Universidad Mayor student, Matias!

Logically as always, we walked by foot to the furthest possible location from Universidad Mayor: Providencia's Parque de las Esculturas. We took pictures with many of the unique modern sculptures before continuing our trek to Cerro San Cristobal. Most prominent Chile observation: stray dogs were everywhere. As we walked up the winding mountain path, a pack of at least 8 dogs rounded the corner and ran right for us. This became a recurring sight throughout our travels. After asking directions from multiple Chileans, we finally reached the funicular. The distinctive Chilean skyline was accented beautifully by the mountain tops. The view at the top was breath taking....literally. We probably climbed 200 stairs to reach the beautiful statue of Virgin Mary. On our descent down the mountain, we engaged in a conversation with a young Australian. Our new friend Matt was on day nine of a year-long journey around the world. After graduating college, he worked in BIS consulting for a year-- yet he decided that is was time to journey the world before continuing with his career. His story taught us the importance of seeking meaningful life experiences and not just following a career path. After our conversation, we gave him our contact information, so he can meet up with us when he travels through Texas on a road trip from coast to coast.

Parque de las Esculturas

Parque de las Esculturas


Cerro San Cristobal

Cerro San Cristobal


Virgin de la Inmaculada

Virgin de la Inmaculada

We traveled via metro to Plaza de Armas. We entered the immaculate, massive church at the plaza, which demonstrated to us the importance of the Catholic faith in Chile. Unlike the tourist-flooded statue of Mary, the church was occupied with faithful Catholic Chileans who were passionately pursuing their God in prayer. The gorgeous church left an awe-struck impression on our group.

Catholic Cathedral

Catholic Cathedral


Catholic Cathedral

Catholic Cathedral

En route to the presidential palace, we had trouble finding our way to the red line of the Metro; however, a nice Chilean college student volunteered to help us. We were simply looking at a map in the middle of the Metro station (with lost looks on our faces) when she approached us in English and asked if we needed help. This experience was indicative of many other encounters throughout the day: while not all Chileans were able to assist us, at least four tried to assist us in reaching our various destinations.

Our first day in Chile was packed with action, sightseeing and adventure. We look forward to a great week in Santiago!

Posted by fellows13 22:41 Comments (0)

T minus 30 hours!!

We have survived finals week and are getting ready to depart on our Chilean Adventure!! Can't wait for all of the incredible experiences we will have during our week in Santiago, Chile!!

Posted by fellows13 13:39 Comments (0)

(Entries 16 - 19 of 19) « Page 1 2 3 [4]