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Chilean Wines

Most people would agree that Chilean wines are becoming one of the best in the world. The great varieties of vines, modern and innovative technology and an improved marketing program have made Chilean wines sought after all around the world. Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the ninth largest producer.

Natural conditions are ideal in Chile for wine producing. Part of its success is due to the geographic variety of Chilean land, quality of soil composition, abundant water for irrigation from ice caps of the Andes and climate conditions.

Among the primary red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Carmenere. Carmenere is a variety that disappeared from European vineyards and has been found in Chilean vineyards a century later. Within the primary whites are Voignier, Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Santa Rita Winery

History

Chile has a long tradition of wine-making. Chile’s wine industry was introduced by the Spanish and dates back to 1548. In the late 19th century most of the world’s wine regions were devastated by phylloxera but because of Chile’s geographic isolation its vineyards were spared. This situation gave Chile an advantage but its industry continued to struggle due to industry regulation and government intervention in land distribution.

In the early 1990s with a new democratic government and a market economy the Chilean wine industry started to see benefits in foreign markets and steady investment growth in technology. Today Chilean wine can be found in more than 90 countries.

 

Wine producing regions

 

Elqui Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Elqui Valley

Elqui Valley is the northernmost wine producing region in Chile. It is located in the region of Coquimbo, south of the Atacama Desert and 530 km or 329 miles north of Santiago. It has great results with Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. This region is mostly known for producing a distilled spirit Pisco.

Vineyards:

Falernia
Cavas del Valle

 

Limari Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Limari Valley

Limari valley is located 470km or 290mi north of Santiago. This area is also known for its Pisco production. It has a desert-like climate and receives 4 inches of rain a year. Drip irrigation and plenty of sunlight makes wine growing possible. Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are successfully produced in this region.

Vineyards to visit are:

Vina Francisco de Aguirre
Maycas del Limari
Ocho Tierras
Tabali
Tamaya

 

Choapa Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Choapa

Choapa is a small valley with growing areas at 2,000 feet above sea level. Climate is similar to Limari Valley. It is located 400km or 250mi north of Santiago. There are no wineries to visit and vineyards produce limited quantities of Syrah and Cabernet grapes.

 

Aconcagua Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Aconcagua

The Aconcagua valley is located 65km or 40 mi north of Santiago. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. It receives 215 mm or 8.5 in of rain per year. Wineyards have had great results with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere, and coastal Sauvignon Blanc.

Vineyards to visit:

Errazuriz
Vina San Esteban
Sanchez de Loria
Von Siebenthal

 

Casablanca Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Casablanca Valley

Casablanca Valley is located 47 mi or 75 km northwest of the capital. The region produces white Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Casas del Bosque
Catrala
Emiliana
Indomita
Matetic
Morande
Veramonte
Vina Mar
William Cole

 

San Antonio Valley

Wine appellation of origin: San Antonio

San Antonio Valley is located 62 mi or 100 km west of Santiago. Cool Pacific climate encourages slow-ripening. This region is one of Chile’s youngest wine producing regions and have had great success with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.

Vineyards in this region are:

Casa Marin
Casa Garces Silva
Vina Leyda
Vina Matetic

 

Maipo Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Maipo

The Maipo Valley has three regions: Alto Maipo, Central Maipo and Pacific Maipo. Alto Maipo covers the Andean foothills at an average of 600 m or 2,000 feet above sea level.  Central Maipo expands south of the capital and receives less precipitation on average.  Pacific Maipo is southwest of Santiago between the Coastal Range and the Andes. The valley is the closest wine producing region to Santiago. Production in this region is concentrated in Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Syrah.

Vineyards to visit

Almaviva
Antiyal
Aquitania
Arboleda
Canepa
Carmen
Casa Rivas
Cochalan
Concha y Toro
Cousino Macul
De Martino
Dona Javiera
Hacienda de Alhue
Haras de Pirque
Vina Huelquen
Odfjell
Perez Cruz
Quebrada de Macul
Santa Alicia
Santa Carolina
Santa Ema
Santa Rita
Sol y Viento
Tarapaca
Terra Mater
Undurraga
Ventisquero
William Fevre
Vinedo Chatwick

 

Cachapoal Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Cachapoal

The Cachapoal Valley is located 85 km or 53 miles south of the capital. It is part of the greater Rapel Valley which is the agricultural center of Chile. The northeast area of the Cachapoal Valley located at the foothills of the Andes produces Cabernets and the western cooler area mostly Carmenere.

Vineyards to visit:

Anakena
Altair
Viña Casa Porta
Casas del Toqui
Viña Chateau los Boldos
Viña Gracia
La Rosa

 

Colchagua Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Colchagua

The Colchagua Valley is located 110 mi or 180 km south of Santiago and is part of the south area of the Rapel Valley. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate ideal for growing high quality grapes. It produces the best quality Cabernets, Carmenere, Syrah and Malbec in the country.

Bisquertt
Caliterra
Casa Lapostolle
Casa Silva
Cono Sur
Emiliana
Estampa
Hacienda Araucano
Viña Las Niñas
Viña Los Vascos
Viña Luis Felipe Edwards
Montes Wines
Mont Gras
Santa Cruz
Santa Helena
Santa Rita
Vina Siegel
Viu Manent

 

Curico Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Curico

The Curico valley enjoys a Mediterranean climate with 650mm or 27.4 in of rain a year. It is located 200 kms or 124 mi south of Santiago. The valley produces Cabernet, Carménère, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc.

Vineyards to visit:

Alta Cima
Aresti
Correa Albano
Echeverria
Ines Escobar
Miguel Torres
Millaman
San Pedro
Santa Hortencia
Valdivieso
Vinedos Puertas

 

Maule Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Maule

The Maule valley is located 155 mi or 250 km south of the capital. It is the largest wine producing region in Chile.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, and old-vine Carignan are successfully produced in the Maule Valley.

Vineyards to visit

Botalcura
Balduzzi
Caliboro
Calina
Casa Donoso
Casas Patronales
Chilean Wines Co.
Corral Victoria
El Aromo Gillmore
Hugo Casanova
J Bouchon
Terra Noble
Via Wines

 

Itata Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Itata

The Itata Valley is located 250 mi or 400 km south of Santiago. It is the oldest wine producing region in Chile. This area mostly produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay.

Via http://www.viawines.com/

Casanueva

Casas de Giner

Mannle

Marques de Calatrava

Panguilemu

Santa Berta

Tierra y Fuego

Torreon

Valle del Itata

Tierra del Arrau

Vinos del Larqui

Vinos del Sur

 

Bio-Bio Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Bio-Bio

The Bio-Bio Valley is located 310 mi or 500 km south of Santiago. It enjoys a cooler climate and more precipitation than the rest of the wine growing areas in Chile. It is known for its Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Vineyards to visit

Agustinos

Cono Sur

Gracia de Chile

Popeta

Porta

Veranda

Canata

 

Malleco Valley

Wine appellation of origin: Bio-Bio

The Malleco Valley is located 400 mi or 640 km south of Santiago and it is the southernmost wine appellation region in Chile. This area is known for its Chardonnay. High rainfall and climate make for a shorter growing season. Other vineyards are experimenting south of the Malleco Valley.

 

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