Wine was introduced to Chile by Spanish settlers in the 1500s. Most Chilean wine was consumed domestically until the 1990s when exports increased and wine lovers across the world discovered their high quality and value for money. Thanks to Chile's largely dry and warm climate, Chilean winemakers have enthusiastically embraced organic, biodynamic and sustainable winemaking. An estimated 75% of exported Chilean wines are produced sustainably.
Key Chilean Wine Regions
Chile is a narrow strip of land running along the Andes Mountains which offers a tremendous variety of climates and wine styles. Chile's key wine regions are largely located in the Central Valley close to the capital city of Santiago. These include the Maipo Valley, nicknamed the "Bordeaux of Chile", producing the most famous Chilean wines, as well as the Aconcagua and Colchagua valleys which are known for their powerful Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere wines. Cooler Casablanca and Limari valleys are especially known for their elegant white wines.
Chilean Grape Varieties
As with neighbouring Argentina, most Chilean wines are made from classic French and Italian varieties brought over by European settlers. Chile's iconic grape variety and one of the best Chilean wines is Carmenere which became extinct in Bordeaux following the outbreak of phylloxera disease. Locals typically pair this fruity and vibrant red with Patagonian lamb cooked on the barbecue. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are two more key varieties for Chilean red wines, along with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for white wines.