Paul Schicke
Written by Paul Schicke Senior Expedition Designer

Updated: October 07, 2023
Published: July 07, 2016

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Harvesting grapes in Chile

Chile has been producing wine for over a hundred years, but only recently has its wines reached international standards. For this reason you might want to take Chilean wine into consideration when selecting a wine to buy. One of the great advantages: price for quality, there is none other like it. This will explain why we love our wine in Chile!

Chilean geography helps producers be able to grow any type of grape for the best wine in Chile. The Casablanca and Leyda valleys, near the coast of Chile are ideal for Sauvignon Blanc, with chilly ocean breezes under the warm sun, ideal for this fresh-tasting grape. The cooler coastal weather of the Casablanca and Limarí valleys, and the Malleco Valley further south, give the perfect conditions for the slightly more acidic Chardonnay grape. Further north, in the Coquimbo region, about a five hour drive from Santiago, more well known for producing grapes for distillery, producers have begun to produce fine white wines, perfect for warmer weather.

All the grapes mentioned up to now have been whites, but that does not mean red wine in Chile is not produced. Chile’s Central Valley, known for its ever-sunny days throughout the year, provides the optimum conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon, a ripe, concentrated wine. Some of the greatest and world-renowned wine producers are based in this region, including Concha y Toro, Santa Rita and Cousiño Macul. The high altitudes and coastal weather of the northern valleys of Limarí and Elqui are perfect for the production of the classic Syrah grape, which will impress any drinker of this type of wine in Chile for its outstanding quality. The southern valleys of Chile help for the slow ripening of Pinot Noir grapes, keeping the grape’s fresh acidity and scent, thanks to the cooler temperatures year-round.

Chile Vineyard

Finally, Chile’s signature grape, long mistaken for a variation of Merlot until just over 20 years ago, the Carmenère. Often described as having a “green” flavor, the mix with acid and freshness brings out a unique essence, perfect for accompanying “green” foods. Although this grape is also grown in other places, such as, Italy and France, Chile has made its Carmenère known around the globe as the best there is.

Wine in Chile and the Carménère Grape

So, if you are a lover of wine, or are just curious as to what wine to buy or try, Chile is the way to go. Good quality is promised, even from some of the cheapest bottles, and price for quality, it will always win against other wines from around the globe. If you are visiting Chile, there is always the possibility of visiting a winery and having a tour (private or in larger groups) around the vineyards and the production process, as well as, wine tasting tours, where you will try the different wines produced by the vineyard you visit.

Corks of Carménère Grape Wine in Chile

Paul Schicke
By Paul Schicke
Senior Expedition Designer

Hello! My name is Paul. I am a photographer, traveler, teacher and writer. I have extensive experience in travel to Galapagos, Peru, Patagonia and the western seaboard of South America specializing in ways travelers can experience these once-in-a-life destinations like locals on the road. Lover of wine, chocolate, travel, coffee, and helping others plan vacations of a lifetime!

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