Wine Production in Chile

Date: December 16, 2010

About Wines from Chile
Best wine supplier in Philippines discusses wine related topics

Chile underwent a rapid viticultural transformation in the 1990s. There was a large-scale investment from overseas producers that helped this transformation. After a shaky start, when the main concern was to rip out the old “rauli” (mature beech barrels) and replace them with vast stainless steel equipment, people in the wine industry paused to take stock of the situation. They soon realized that to produce outstanding, world-competing wines, more was required. The answer lay in improving the actual quality of the fruit coming into the wineries. Producers needed, literally, to return to their roots. Decades of neglect had left badly tended vines. Concepts, such as vineyard mapping, canopy management and controlled irrigation, were rapidly put into practice. Furthermore, up until recent times, Chilean wine makers had remained firmly entrenched in following traditional French methods of wine production. In the 1990s, however, they started to question and experiment, and from that moment onward, Chile’s wine industry blossomed.

Main Red Grape Varieties

Chile’s thriving wine industry was initially built upon the Cabernet Sauvignon grape although Merlot is now becoming as important. Today, Pinot Noir also is prominent.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The distinctive black currant flavor of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is often at its most intense in Chilean wines. Some versions also have a hint of tobacco and mint. Nowadays, Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with other varieties to produce wines of quite dramatic complexity.


It is estimated that approximately 60-90% of Chilean Merlot is actually produced from the traditional Bordeaux grape, Carmenère (sometimes referred to as Grande Vidure). In fact, almost all the world’s surviving plantings of Carmenère are in Chile. Styles of Merlot/Carmenère vary from young, fruity quaffing wines to more substantial, rich, oak-aged wines with complex, earthy, smoky flavors.

Pinot Noir

This grape variety is now becoming increasingly widespread. Pinot Noir is capable of producing some exceedingly silky wines with a smooth berry fruit flavor.

Other Reds

Many Chilean producers are currently experimenting with Syrah, Sangiovese, Carignan, Zinfandel, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc with a focus on blending.

Main White Grape Varieties


The Chardonnay grape produces uncomplicated wines with citrus and tropical fruit flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc

A proportion of Chilean Sauvignon is produced from Sauvignonasse or Sauvignon Vert, which is a variety of lesser distinction; the remainder is made from the true Sauvignon grape. The best Chilean sauvignon comes from the Casablanca Valley. This grape variety has a tangy, natural acidity.

Other Whites

Gewürztraminer, either from Casablanca or Bio-Bio, in the south is capable of producing aromatic, crisp wines of outstanding quality. Sémillon, Viognier, and Riesling are also becoming more commonplace.

Wine Growing Regions

The bulk of the country’s vineyards are located in the Central Valley and its sub-regions (Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule). The Maipo Valley is, by far, the most famous wine growing area of this Central Valley region. Its dominance in Chilean wine history, undoubtedly has more to do with its proximity to the capital, where investment was focused as early as the last century, than superior geographical attributes. To the north is the Aconcagua region, which includes the important Casablanca Valley (the source of several of Chile’s finest white wines). The Southern region includes the Itata and Bio-Bio sub regions.

For all Chilean wine regions, the most significant physical influences are the mountains and rivers. In particular, the region’s position, relative to the Andean and coastal ranges, has a significant impact upon vine growth and development.

Understanding Chilean Wine Labels

Envasado en Origen: Estate Bottled

Viñas Courant: One Year Old

Viñas Special: Two Years Old

Viñas Reserva: Four Years Old

Viñas Reservado: Six Years Old

The Future

Over the past decade or so, Chile’s rise to viticultural prominence has been meteoric. The country has the good fortune of possessing huge vineyards that are free from disease, have much sunshine due to the rain shadow of the Andes, and have natural supplies of irrigation water from those same mountains. The vineyards themselves are now well stocked with an abundance of classic grape varieties, and the investment is paying off. In addition, the new found economic and political stability has strengthened Chile’s position on the international wine market. Every year, there is more investment from overseas producers, and new vineyards are planted.

The wine growers of Chile now need to consolidate. They are already producing wines of quality at both ends of the market. Building on the distinctive character, style, and fruity flavors of the superb wines now emerging from the regions’ vineyards is the best way forward. The vineyards of Chile have been hailed as a “viticultural paradise.” The title, nowadays, is well deserved.


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How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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