Chile, the ‘bootlace’ of South America! 2500 miles long from the Atacama dessert in the north to the glaciers of Patagonia in the south, and yet only 90 miles from west to east at its widest point! An exciting and stunningly beautiful country whose wine industry has made huge strides in quality and diversity in the last 20 years.
The wine regions are mostly concentrated within 100 miles of the capital Santiago. To the south are Maipo, Colchagua, Curico and Maule valleys, and to the north and west Aconcagua, Casablanca Leyda, and San Antonio. Further north are the arid, dry, almost desert-like, Limari and Elqui valleys, famous for crystal-clear skies and some of the world’s best stargazing.
‘International’ grape varieties dominate and the most widely planted whites are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, followed by Semillon and Riesling. Cabernet Sauvignon is by far the most widely planted black grape followed by Merlot and Syrah. Carmenere, which was originally from Bordeaux, has become Chile’s signature grape. Pais, which used to be the most widely planted grape and known as Mission, is often now used in blends and bulk wines.
With the Andes to the east and the coastal ranges to the west, the vineyards are in the intervening valleys. The Andes bring cool air and snowmelt for irrigation. The Pacific Ocean brings a strong maritime influence, and the Humboldt current from Antarctica generates cool onshore breezes. 80% of country is mountainous, and this somewhat chaotic terrain gives rise to variety of different aspects, exposures and soils.
Join us on an upcoming wine tour
Chile Wine Tour
1-10 March 2024 and 15-24 March 2024
Book now for a once-in-a-lifetime tour to Chile in March 2024, exploring the boutique wineries and delicious gastronomy of this stunning country. Staying in some amazing places – Santiago, Valparaiso, Santa Cruz and Curico – you’ll have the opportunity to explore hand-crafted and characterful wines from Casablanca, Maipo and Colchagua. And did we mention the rodeo visit?!
We’re also offering a 3-day extension where you’ll experience the wines of the Limari and Elqui Valleys, visit an observatory for a spot of stargazing and explore the hieroglyphs of the Enchanted Valley. What’s not to love?