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New World wines: Chile

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Chile is one of the best places to explore amongst wine producing countries in the world. Since the inception of the Spanish vine, Chile has gone on to become home to best winemakers in the world. Chile occupies a long narrow strip area down the western coast of the South American continent and often overshadowed by its European competitors. Nonetheless, Chilean wine has gradually grown and today is available in the world export market.

Over the past 30 years, Chile has been exploring its wine production from grapevines planted by viticulturists in 1548 and imported varieties from Bordeaux in the 1800s. The Chilean wine industry experienced a significant change in the 1990s when it started exporting its wines which have been consumed domestically in the past. Since then, the world’s interest in the quality and value of Chilean wines have substantially increased. The growth and evolution of the Chilean wine industry with technology have increased the export net revenue from about US$182 million to US$2 billion from 1995 to 2018. As of 2018, Chile is placed on the 4th position of the world wine export by countries and still maintains its status as a top wine producing country globally.

Chile is best at producing versatile brands of white and red wines among which include Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Carménère, and Pinot Noir. Chile have won several awards in different international wine competitions. Interestingly, Chile recently added a feather to its cap after winning 438 medals which include five platinum medals in the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), the world’s biggest wine competition. The success from various wine competitions has seen many European wine producers going on a tour to Chilean wineries to know more about their method of production. Chilean wine regions and wineries are an incredible place to visit as one of the largest wine producers in the world. The main regions include Maipo, Casablanca and Aconcagua. Various surrounding landscapes influence the climate of these regions. The Andes, the Pacific Ocean, the Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in the East, West, South and North respectively, have a cooling effect to cool the warm climate and support the cultivation of grapevines. 

Chile offers more than 20 different grape varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot still the most popular. Chilean farmers are also interested in experimenting with various grape varieties and even some varieties of Gewurztraminer and Viognier. However, they have not yet been developed on a large scale. One of Chile’s biggest claims on viticulture is the rare harvest of Carmenere. In the 20th century, many wine experts were afraid of the Chilean wines Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. To achieve this goal, ampelographers were hired to test the wines and vines used in production. The results showed that the Merlot was actually an old Carmenere vine from the Bordeaux region, which is now thought to be extinct, as well as Sauvignon – Sauvignon vine. Since then, Chilean farmers have successfully introduced the Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc varieties and France has reintroduced the Carmenere grape variety.

Chilean wines are world-class wines that you will love.

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