Chile

The Chilean coastline continues for almost 3000 miles up the western side of South America. The major winemaking areas are along a band almost 1000 miles long, with the major production around the capital city of Santiago.

Winemaking in Chile dates back to the 1500s when the conquering Spanish led
by Cortez brought vinifera vines to the country. In the early 1800s a French monk, Claudio Gay, imported vinifera vines from Bordeaux and set a nursery.These vines not only became the basis for a lot of Chilean wine production, but cuttings were also sent back to france to help with post-phylloxera planting. Today, Chile is the one of the only winemaking countries to be free of Phylloxera. The Andes, Pacific Ocean, and altitude have helped to isolate Chile and create a unique environment where vines are grown on their original rootstocks. Chile has developed a reputation for producing excellent value wines produced from the Bordeaux varieties and the ex-Bordeaux grape Carmenère.

Recent investments from Bordeaux Chateaux, Italian powerhouses, and Spanish giants have elevated the winemaking to new heights.

Casablanca

Casablanca has carved out a reputation for itself in a relatively short period of time. Originally this region was thought to be too cold for growing quality grapes. Fog sits on the vineyards in the morning adding moisture and cooling the grapes. The bright afternoon sun burns off the fog and allows for a slow even ripening of the grapes. Casablanca is most famous for its crisp, fruit dominated Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Elqui Valley

The Elqui Valley is the one of Chile's most Northerly quality wine regions. Located in the larger Coquimbo D.O. the conditions are dry and desert-like, traditionally most of the wines produced in this region were distilled to make Pisco. This region has become a Mecca for travelers looking for enlightenment and spiritual answers; when the Earth's magnetic forces were measured by satellite in 1982 it was found that the greatest point of energy was located in the Elqui Valley. For the past 2000 years Earth's magnetic center was located in the Himalayas, in Tibet. Recent investment in the region has started to produce excellent quality wines

Leyda Valley

The Leyda Valley is a region within the cool San Antonio region. The Leyda Valley shares a lot in common with Casablanca to the north. Both are cooler climates and produce very fresh, crisp white wines. The vineyards are located a scant 6 miles from the Pacific coast and benefit from the cool maritime air. This region has only recently begun to be developed, and winemakers are looking to plant Pinot Noir as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Maipo

Maipo Valley is probably Chile's most famous winemaking region. It has a warm climate and excels in growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère. The vineyards themselves are located over 1500 feet on the rocky alluvial soils at the base of the Andes. A benefit here is the diurnal shift created at this altitude, the vines ripen slower and have better acidic balance.

Rapel

The Rapel Valley is a sub region of Chile's famous Central Valley and lies south of Maipo. The northern part of the Rapel Valley is famous for the elegant red wines produced here, influenced by the cooler maritime air coming from the Pacific Ocean. The southern end of the valley is partially shielded from the Pacific Ocean and produces fuller bodied wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and, Carménère.

Chile Wine Producers

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