Chile is a long thin sliver of land on the West Coast of South America. It shares a border with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru and faces out to the Pacific Ocean. It is approximately 3,000 miles long and never more than 220 miles wide. It’s mainly of Mediterranean climate with rains concentrated in winter and spring, and a long dry season through autumn.
Chile’s geographic position gives rise to unique and diverse geology that has made it renowned for wine production. The Atacama Desert to the north,
the Andes Mountains to the east, the Patagonian ice fields to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west make Chile a veritable agricultural island. Together they help maintain healthy conditions and protect vineyards against pests and disease.* The Chilean landscape also offers a vast mosaic
of terroirs and soil types. Soils are healthy, welldrained, and have a variety of origins (alluvial, colluvial, fluvial, etc.) and textures (loam, clay, sand, silt). The interaction between the effects of the sea and those of the Andes result in a growing season that revels in bright sunny days and temperatures that take a dramatic dip each night to create the broad daily temperature oscillation that wine grapes need to develop fresh fruit flavors, crisp acidity, and in the case of red wines, ripe tannins, deep color, and high levels of antioxidants and flavonols.*
Chilean Wine Laws
- D.O. (Denomination of Origin) defines regions, sub-regions, zones and areas and only establishes the grapes’ origin.
- Only approved grape varieties may be planted. Hybrid grapes are strictly forbidden.
- 75% of wine must be from geographic area when using a denomination of origin.
- Estate bottled may only be used when the winery and vineyards are located in the same geographic area within the D.O.
- D.O. wines may use the terms Gran Reserva, Gran Vino, Reserva, Reserva Especial, Reserva Privada, Seleccion and Superior. These words do not have a specific definition and may be used with a different meaning in each winery.
- The main wine regions of Chile follow the valleys of rivers running down from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, transecting the 625 mile Central Valley
- Grapes originally planted by the Conquistadors
- Phylloxera – free
- Some of the largest organic vineyards in the world
- Chile’s premium wine growing regions are located between the 30 & 40 latitudes (Napa Valley is 36)
- Soils differentiate between appellations and range from sea sand to volcanic rock
- Rated among the finest in the world