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Wilfredo Cruz Gonzalez

“My dream is for this product to be sustainable over time and for our people to once again live off of farming. And that many more of us work for our people and that families come back to live here.”

Wilfredo Cruz Gonzalez is one of 20 wine producers from Toconao that have been commercially working their vineyards under the “Ayllú” brand for several years. Wilfredo is a native of the town of Toconao, located in the district of San Pedro de Atacama, and is a member of the Atacameña indigenous community in Toconao. He is currently a prominent producer of Ayllú wine.

He produced his first wines in 2009, realizing a dream he had had since 2001 to build a family business. He has worked hard to continuously improve his products and encourage his son, who is currently studying oenology.  The wine they produce is sold in nearby towns, mainly the city of Calama.

Over time, they have developed new marketing formats for the wines and worked to publicize the products. Tourism has also developed around the wine, including visits to plantations and the production warehouse, which has driven sales. The “High-altitude wine” has also won several awards.

Wine produced at 2,400 meters above sea level and irrigated with river water from the Jere Valley in the high plateaus of the Antofagasta Region.

It is produced by 36 independent farmers under the same brand name. In 2016, they produced 7,879 bottles.

Ada Zuleta Zuleta

“I hope we continue with this family project of making jams because it is a family dream.”

Ada produces jams and fruit pastes. She is native to the town of Toconao, located in the district of San Pedro de Atacama, and is a member of the Atacameña indigenous community in Toconao. She is currently one of the leading producers of homemade jams.

Together with her family, Ada has built the company CKACHI HOIRI, DULCE TIERRA, a family business that was founded ten years ago to help support her family. After she retired in 2000, she saw the need to formally start a business and began to produce jams and quince paste and sell them at the local market. In 2012 she won an SQM grant that she used to finance her commercial business license and health permit, and began to sell her products at local and regional fairs. Since then she has worked tirelessly alongside her family on labeling, product formats and new flavor and product development, incorporating native elements such as rica rica, a typical plant from San Pedro de Atacama.

Sold mainly at cultural and indigenous fairs held in the district and in Calama and Antofagasta, the products have helped others get to know their people. She also makes special deliveries to hotels in San Pedro de Atacama.

The products are handcrafted with all the sweet flavor of Toconao soil using old family recipes.

Featured products include apricot and rose petal jams, quince paste, and dried apricots and quince.  (Toconao means Place of Stones, which comes from the kunza word TOCKNAR, meaning stone)

Patricia Lorena Pérez González

“My dream is to have a place in my house where I can showcase my herbs and to earn national and international recognition. I want to demonstrate that these herbs have an important ancestral identity. I want my project to be a model for others to follow.”

Patricia is a member of the Atacameña indigenous community in Toconao. She is known as an herb gatherer. She uses these herbs to produce the products that she sells today under the brand name “La Atacameña”

This trade was passed down to her by her maternal grandmother, who grew herbs and sold them in Calama. Patricia applied for an SQM grant, which she used to finance the creation of the “La Atacameña” brand. Currently, “La Atacameña” is a registered trademark and sells its products mainly in Toconao and to customers throughout Chile at fairs and special events.

These herb-based products include infusions, teas and aromatic spices. They are created from plants gathered in areas around Toconao where they grow naturally, thus bringing new life to traditional local species.

Sponsored By:

Atacama & SQM