Meet Cristian Vallejo, 2024 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Special Guest of Honor

High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art
Published in
4 min readFeb 2, 2024

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Read more about Cristian Vallejo, his work with VIK Winery, and his journey in developing the wine industry of the Millahue region.

By Logan Griffin, Assistant Manager, Wine Auction and Special Events, High Museum of Art

Photo courtesy of Cristian Vallejo.

The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction is a cornerstone of the Atlanta community that celebrates wine, delicious food, and art, all in support of the High’s mission-driven programming. Each year, we look forward to welcoming vintners, restaurateurs, and wineries from all over the world to share not only their knowledge and craft but also their support for our dynamic institution.

Joining us from VIK Winery in Chile, Cristian Vallejo will serve as this year’s Special Guest of Honor — a position reserved for those who shine in the wine industry and care deeply about the work we do. To dive deeper into his impressive work, I asked Cristian a few questions about his love for wine, his career, and his Wine Auction participation.

Question: When did you know that you wanted to be a winemaker?

Answer: I come from a family of vintners, and wine has always been on the table — but becoming a winemaker was an important turning point for me. I realized that I could come up with a significant interpretation of nature in the bottle to share with friends and family, inspire conversations, and bring joy to daily festivities.

Q: How did you get involved with the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, and what has made you want to stay involved over the years?

A: I got involved through the art, which is a very important part of the Vik experience. We have been part of the Wine Auction for so long because we also share that spirit to help others — specifically with our global holism — and the Auction is a beautiful way to work together for the kids.

Q: For those who have not had a chance to visit VIK, can you describe this beautiful destination in Millahue, Chile?

A: The Millahue Valley has the best parts of the incredible Chilean geography and is a unique terroir. The coastal breeze and the minerality of the mountains give us an amazing complexity in wine and an amazing experience with nature — not only with our wines but with food and even walks through the forest nearby. Every year, the impressive micro-terroir provides us with vintages that show the evolution of our work, which is reflected in our wines.

Q: What is something about wines made in Millahue that people may not know or fully appreciate yet?

A: Our wines are produced in the region known as the “Golden Place” and are known for their quality, naturalness, elegance, and dynamic flavor.

Our wines have a beautiful fruity nose with smooth, subtle tannins. These result from our circular winemaking concept, which is rooted in our holist philosophy. We use Barroir, Amphoir, and Fleuroir concepts to help craft the purest, most natural, organic, and non-intervention wines to share with wine lovers. At our core, we strive to create incredible moments that will live forever in your memories!

Q: Over the years you’ve been part of the creation of many varietals, including wines at Valdivieso winery, TerraMater, Franciscan Estate, Clos Montblanc, Château Margaux, Château Léoville Poyferré, Cantina Toblino, and finally VIK Winery. What has it been like to work for such legendary brands?

A: It’s a privilege to work with fantastic teams who are now part of wine industry history, to watch the progression of their wines, and, more importantly, to learn from the wine culture of every country. I appreciate their kindness in teaching me about their work ethic and allowing me to contribute my ideas and projects.

Q: Who has been the most influential mentor in your career?

A: In 2003, [the late] Paul Pontallier, [who at the time was] technical director from Château Margaux, offered me the best advice — how to find the finesse of the tannins and their most pure and sensitive expression. But I appreciate everyone’s guidance and support during my career. Alexander and Carrie Vik also played a significant role in helping me realize the Vik family’s goal of creating a great winery.

Q: In winemaking, how do you choose to balance the relationship between tradition and innovation?

A: The balance is tied to reinterpreting the terroir each year and implementing new processes through our circular winemaking concept. Through this concept, we focus on preserving the rich wine history while also attempting to make wine in the most natural, untouched, and sustainable way possible with only the resources of our terroir through innovation.

From Friday Uncorked! to the Live Auction, we have a slew of exciting events slated for this year’s Wine Auction, March 21–23 under the tents at Atlantic Station. Benefactor Packages, which ensure access to all the weekend’s events, are on sale now. To learn more about Cristian Vallejo and the Wine Auction, please visit our website. We hope to see you there — cheers!

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High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art

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