In the last quarter of the 19th century, particularly competitive scenarios emerged for the pisco industry. The Universal Exhibitions presented stages in which traditional products from northern Chile had never been exposed. This posed the challenge of being displayed and compared with other spirits, both from Chile and abroad.
Four relevant actors participated in this movement: Juan de Dios Peralta, from Fundo Tres Cruces; Olegario Alba and his Bella Sombra Estate, Luis Hernández in Paihuano and Gustavo Arqueros, with his Fundo Alcohuaz. Each of them contributed, in their own way, at this founding stage of Chilean pisco on the international markets.
Don Juan de Dios Peralta took an active part of the local development plans and was among the managers of the railway expansion in the Elqui Valley. But the center of his interest was focused on the development of the Fundo Tres Cruces, recognized as one of the best pisco distillers in the area. In addition to contributing to consolidating the quality of piscos, he also led the innovation in label designs.
Olegario Alba Peralta was born in Vicuña (1864) and was educated at the lycée of La Serena. His life was oriented to public service and agro-industrial production. He served as mayor of Paihuano and managed the Bella Sombra Estate. He took an active role in the Universal Exhibitions, where he sought to participate with his disti- llates.
Brothers Luis and Lino Hernández Serralta were also protagonists of this process, as administrators of the Paihuano and La Viñita Estates, respectively. Luis Hernández’s bold spirit was functional to the international projection of the pisco. The wine-growing enterprise of the Paihuano Estate began in 1870. Fifteen years later, he was already among the most prominent wine and pisco producers in the region.
In 1882, José María Goyenechea, from Copiapó, recorded the first pisco label, simply called “G”. The following year the pisco brand “Condor” was registered on behalf of Juan de Dios Pérez Arce, from Vicuña. Until 1930, 114 pisco labels had been register- red.
Gustavo Arqueros settled in La Serena in the 1920s, being mayor of the city between 1927 and 1931. One of his greatest works was the unification of pisco producers, thanks to the creation of the “Control” office, strongly promoting legislation in favor of pisco, which would result in the decree of the Pisco Designation of Origin, in 1931. He also promoted cooperatives as the basis of the current system that governs the agro-industrial sector. His political career also led him to be deputy and then intendant of the province of Coquimbo.