Vintner Agustin Huneeus, owner of the Quintessa estate in Napa Valley and a San Francisco resident, received highest civilian honors from Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in a ceremony in Los Angeles on Friday. Huneeus received a medal and the title of “Grand Official” for meritorious service to the Republic of Chile, recognizing his efforts to promote Chile and its wine industry on an international level.
A native of Chile and owner of Veramonte Winery in Chile’s Casablanca Valley, Huneeus has been tireless in promoting and developing the wine regions of Chile around the globe, helping to make Chile one of the top winemaking regions in the world recognized for both its quality and value. Additionally, he has fostered relationships between Chile and California that encourage educational and civil partnerships abroad.
As a member of the board of Plan Chile-California, he led a Chilean mission to California in April 2009 and again in September 2010. He led an exchange that named Napa and Casablanca, Chile as sister cities in 2002 and co-organized a seminar in March of 2010 in which officials from the municipalities of both cities met and exchanged ideas regarding their respective agricultural regions. He has also facilitated the development of “Human Capital” in the Republic of Chile by creating valuable support networks for Chileans studying abroad in California. In May, he organized “California Abrazo Chile” an event to raise awareness and provide relief funds for victims of a massive earthquake that struck the country February 27th, raising over $300,000 dollars with gracious contributions of vintners and bay area philanthropists.
This award has been given to only three other Chilean citizens, including Mario Kreutzberger, Sabado Gigante television personality Don Francisco.
Agustin’s career in wine has spanned 50 years and 15 countries. Today, his family-owned portfolio of fine wines includes Veramonte Winery in Chile, the Quintessa estate in Napa Valley, Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Illumination Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Flowers Vineyards and Winery on the extreme Sonoma Coast, and The Prisoner and Saldo wines produced in partnership with Orin Swift Cellars. He is also a partner in Washington’s Long Shadows Vintners. In 1996, he was the recipient of Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service award for his significant and long lasting contributions to the wine industry.