History

A little history

Chile has been producing wine for centuries.

Winemaking began in Chile with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, who brought the vine to make sacramental wine. The first recorded vineyards in the country were planted in the early 16th century, and the wine export industry had become significant by the mid-18th century.

In 1854, major European varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Noir and Riesling were imported. Vines adapt easily to Chile’s climate, and it is believed that today’s strains are the only remaining plants taken from cuttings of vines from before the global phylloxera epidemic.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Chile’s winemaking industry was in the hands of major aristocratic families, which imported new varieties and hired experts (French enologists and administrators) to handle the vines and production processes. Wines were marketed and exported with success, and the quality of Chilean wines was underscored at expositions in Bordeaux (1882), Liverpool (1885) and Paris (1889).

Chilean wines reached a peak in Europe during the late 19th century, when the phylloxera epidemic struck the vineyards of the Old World. Consumers and traders turned their gaze to Chile for a reliable supply of wine. However, it is only in the last decade that Chile has earned renown for producing incomparable wines with unique fruit flavors in well-known grape varieties.

Chile currently exports wines to more than 150 countries across five continents.

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