Wine Valleys of Chile
Chilean Wine Country
Most of Chile’s fine wine vineyards are clustered in temperate valleys around Santiago.
The region’s terroir is ideal; a climate somewhere between California and France—warm days, cool nights, sufficient rainfall and low frost risk—with soils ranging from clay to tuffeau.
Chile’s natural barriers—the Pacific and the Andes—protect its vines from many pests common to Europe.
Chilean wine has won medals at top competitions in Berlin and Tokyo, and several vintages are rated 95 or better by Wine Spectator.
History of Chilean Wine
The first Vitis vinifera raisin pips were planted by the Spanish, soon after the conquest.
Jesuit missionaries expanded the cultivation and introduced additional techniques.
In the 18th century, French immigrants introduced Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other varietals to the region.
The Colchagua Valley
In recent times, as the phylloxera louse devastated European vineyards, Chile drew on displaced European talent.
The Colchagua Valley, centered around the charming town of Santa Cruz, is comparable to Napa. Colchagua lies 90 miles south of Santiago.
This region is known for its boutique vineyards (Montes, Clos Apalta, Viu Manent, Viña Santa Cruz).
Colchagua Valley Wine Varietals
Colchagua produces a diverse selection of red wine varietals, including:
- Pinot Noir
The nearby Cachapoal Valley attracts connoisseurs with its spectacular views and fine Cabernets.
Visitors to the Colchagua area typically stay at least two nights—touring, tasting and relaxing.
The Maipo Valley, located just south of Santiago, produces fine Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
In fact, over 70% of the vineyard acreage here is dedicated to Cabernet production. The country’s first vines were planted here in 1546, and cultivation has flourished.
Chile’s largest wine exporter, Concha y Toro, welcomes guests to a colonial manor house surrounded by gardens and vineyards.
Cousiño Macul produces premium, ultra-premium and icon wines on an estate founded in 1856.
For a look at small-scale production of exceptional quality, visit Viña Aquitana or Viña Almaviva.
“Wine is bottled poetry.”
Robert Louis Stevenson