Chile

Chile is the country that stretches from the north to the south (nearly 6.5 thousand km of coastline), there are several climate zones in here – from the dry north (Atacama Desert), through moderate, almost Mediterranean central part (areas around Santiago), to the wet and cool south. Diverse climate conditions allow for producing wines varied in terms of quality and style. Large-space enterprises dominate the wine industry – vineyards of several hundred hectares. Wineries are very well equipped, quite easily they keep up with all the latest trends in the winemaking business. The producers, with reasonable price policy, are able to guarantee solid and repeatable quality.

Map of ChileThe first person to arrive in Chile was the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia together with his expedition in 1541. More than ten years later grapevine was planted here by colonizers, missionaries and soldiers arriving into the country. According to chronicles, one of the first large vineyards was set up in 1554 near Santiago by Juan Jufré de Loaiza y Montesano.
Across centuries the crops spread throughout the country. In the 17th century a lot of seedlings used to be brought up, among others from Bordeaux (the varieties are still popular in Chile). Chile gained independence in 1818. With time, an increasing number of emigrants from Germany, Italy, France, Spain began to arrive into the country. Many of them had some experience with wine and vineyards, so they used to set up vineyards and bring up vintage varieties of grapevine.

Nowadays, vineyards are in the area stretching for 1300 kilometres. As we know, Chile is the country that stretches from the north to the south (nearly 6.5 thousand km of coastline), there are several climate zones in here – from the dry north (Atacama Desert), through moderate, almost Mediterranean central part (areas around Santiago), to the wet and cool south. Diverse climate conditions allow for producing wines varied in terms of quality and style.
Large-space enterprises dominate the wine industry – vineyards of several hundred hectares. Wineries are very well equipped, quite easily they keep up with all the latest trends in the winemaking business. The producers, with reasonable price policy, are able to guarantee solid and repeatable quality. Chilean wines are exported in large quantities, they are very popular in Europe and they have many supporters in our country as well.
It must be mentioned that there are also significantly smaller enterprises in Chile, oriented at original wine style and more refined quality.

The wine regions of Chile are: Coquimbo (with Limari Valley), Aconcaqua (with Aconcaqua, Casablanca and Antonio Valleys), Central Valley of Chile (with appelations of Rapel, Maipo, Curico, Maule), Southern Chile (Itata, Bio-Bio, Malleco Valley).

Chile was not affected by the philoxera plague that ravished vineyards across the world in the mid-19th century. This was favoured by the natural isolation of the country (the Andes in the east, Pacific Ocean in the west, desert areas in the north and glaciers in the south) but also by the restricted import of seedlings from Europe and, first of all, strict requirements for phytosanitary control and protection. At present, the country has got the largest area of vineyards that are not grafted onto American grapevine rootstocks protecting the plant against the pest. Thus, so far they managed to maintain the purest genetic form.

The leading variety of Chile is carmenere which was long mistaken for... merlot. Then, it was rediscovered by a French ampelographist – Claude Valat – in 1991, while the information was spread and the “new” variety was popularized by a scholar of the Polish origin, highly regarded ampelographist from the University of Santiago, professor Philippo Pszczółkowski.

Today, carmenere is one of the most distinctive Chilean varieties. It originates from Bordeaux, features good aromaticity, intense fruity and plum-chocolate accents in taste. Moreover, in Chilean vineyards we can find cabernet sauvignon (statistically it takes most of the space and plays the leading role), merlot, syrah, pinot noir, sangiovese, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, viognier, riesling, gewurztraminer, moscatel of Alexandria.
The number of organic and biological crops in Chile is gradually growing – wines from the vineyards attended with better phytosanitary care with reduced number of chemical sprays are increasingly popular with consumers. In the TIM offer, this type is presented by bottles with Viña Cono Sur.

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