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A Diplomatic Champion for Chile - The Washington Post

November 12, 2008

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Diplomatic Champion for Chile
By: Dave McIntyre

Just a few days after Mariano Fernandez assumed his post as Chile's ambassador to the United States, he scored his first diplomatic triumph. Serving as a judge at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, he convinced the four other judges at his table that a wine he particularly liked was worthy of a gold medal. The next day, when the entire 20-judge panel tasted the top-scoring wines from among the more than 300 entered, the wine he'd championed -- Osprey's Dominion Reserve Merlot 2002 from Long Island -- was voted best of show.

In the two years since, Fernandez has been busy with more traditional diplomatic duties in managing relations between Santiago and Washington. But he has also been a visible and vocal advocate of Chile's wine industry, playing a more active role than most ambassadors in promoting their country's vino.

Fernandez calls wine "my secret profession." He is an internationally recognized wine expert as a member of the Academie Internationale du Vin and honorary member of two Bordeaux societies, the European Wine Society of Austria and a cellarful of Chilean wine organizations. He is a regular judge at the annual Concours Mondiale de Bruxelles and at competitions in Spain and Chile. Click here to download the full article.