Wine in Chile

It seems that northern Chile is known for its famous wines and southern Chile is known for it´s selection of privately owned breweries. Today we will cover the northern part of Chile and the grapes that grow there.

The Northern half of Chile is suitable for growing grapes because it receives rain, but unlike southern Chile, it is also dry for a good part of the year and has many flat fields that are good for vineyards. Leaving Santiago, you can find rows and rows of vineyards with an endless amount of grapes that (almost all) go to make wine. The main wine producing regions include the Atacama, Coquimbo, Anconcagua, and Central Valley regions. Although it is not known for producing many wines, the southern region has two sub-regions that contain vineyards. These are located in the Bio-Bio region. These vineyards focus more on large scale boxed wines or cheaper wines.

Because Chile is relatively closed off from other countries from a geographical standpoint, the phylloxera louse has been kept at bay whereas it is a major problem in other wine producing countries. Because Chile does not have this harmful insect, they do not have to graft their rootstock which experts say increase the flavor of the wine as well as lowering production costs.

Wine in Chile started with pure Chilean companies, but later in the 20th century foreign companies joined up with the Chileans to make some of the most popular brands in Chile.

Laws for producing Chilean wine has kept the wine producing honest and pure with minimal additives, unlike many countries that add different forms of artificial flavors and sugars. Wines are required to have at least 75% of the grape variety advertised, however there are no restrictions of the variety of grapes. Also, the wine must contain at least 75% of the grapes harvested in the year that is advertised if it is consumed within Chile. If it is produced for export, then it must contain at least 85% of the grapes from the year advertised. If exported, then white wines must be at least 12% alcohol and reds must have at least 11.5%. Chile also has laws regulating the addition of sugars, alcohol, or artificial sweeteners.

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