Chilean Wine Guide


A newcomer in the international wine trade, Chilean wine has the reputation to be affordable and good value for money but it has known an important quality rise which could put the country as a rising star.

Chile is a lengthy country spanning 2700 miles (4000 kilometres) of land in South America, between the Andes mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. The country has an amazing diversity of landscapes and terroirs with coastal plains and sites in higher altitudes near the Andes. The climate is overall Mediterranean but cooler and moister in the south. The Humboldt Current from Antarctic brings cooling wind and fog to the coastline. Near the Andes the cold breezes bring high diurnal temperature variation.

History of the wine in Chile

Grapes were brought in the sixteenth century by the European settlers to make Mass wine. The Spanish missionaries planted Pais grapes in Chile during the evangelization of the continent. The nineteenth century is the golden age of the Chilean wine sector whereas Europe is devastated by the phylloxera.

The goldmines in the Atacama Desert brought over waves of European immigrants and a few chose to go south of Santiago to plant European varieties and cultivated vineyards in Maipo Valley. The wine production was only for domestic consumption in the twentieth century.

Since a few decades ago the opening for the export led to an increase in quality and foreign capital inflows.

Wine regions in Chile

The northern wine-growing regions are recently growing thanks to the international varieties. The Aconcagua region is still the most famous area for Chilean wine with the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys and San Antonio. In the Central Valley there is important wine regions like Maipo Valley or Rapel and Maule. In the south, Itata and BioBio could have a bright future.

Grape Varieties in Chile

The red grapes dominate the wine production. Pais was the most common until the 1990's but now it is only used to produce a local drink. Cabernet Sauvignon is now the most common grape and can produce diverse wine styles like a fruity wine or a full-bodied complex one. Merlot is most appreciated by foreign consumers for its fruity wines.

Carménère is Chilean wine Icon. It was discovered in Chile in 1994 thanks to DNA analysis. Nowadays, the Bordeaux native grape only do well in this country. It ripens late in hot and sunny vineyards to produce red wines with black fruits aromas and herbal and red pepper notes.

Syrah and Pinot Noir are cultivated in cooler conditions to produce high-quality wines.

The most important white grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat of Alexandria, the last one is used in Pisco, a local brandy. The coastal and cool vineyards produce fruity Sauvignons Blancs. The Chardonnay wines have ripe fruity flavors and oak note. The plantation of aromatic grapes like Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer spreads gradually in Chile.

Our wines from Chile