Chile rides out

24 July, 2018

Carmen’s Faulconer calls for a “more specific appellation system that protects the great wine growing regions”. She adds: “For this, it is important to work harder in specialisation. In the past decade, the viticultural map of Chile has grown and continues to grow on a daily basis as trial plots mature and new wine styles and varieties emerge.

“I feel as though the country has moved on to producing an exciting range of quality wines and styles from a number of new and diverse regions. We are making wines from the south, from the Andes, and from the coast, to the Atacama desert.”


According to CyT’s Lopez: “There is a real sense of optimism and innovation around Chilean wine. Many new and exciting wine styles are being produced, and Chile continues to perform strongly in international markets around the world.

“The opportunities lie in building successful wine brands which consumers can trust, enjoy and readily access. This will encourage them to try and buy even better and more interesting wines.”

There’s also a need to talk up premium wines in the mature markets of Europe, says Lapostolle owner Charles De Bournet Marnier Lapostolle: “We need to get the consumer and the wine trade to think beyond the idea that Chile is just a safe and cheap source of wine. We must talk more about regionality and what makes Chile special.”


“I believe that organic viticulture has a great future in Chile,” says Torres. “The natural climate conditions – very dry in the summertime – make it a paradise for organic viticulture. Chile has far fewer plagues than other wine countries so organic viticulture is far easier.

“I believe that wine lovers not only want to drink a great wine, but to know how that wine is made. More and more we are conscious that our decisions and choices as consumers have a great impact on our planet.”

He says there is a great opportunity in terms of promoting sustainable local development and speaks of his admiration for the Vignadores de Carignan (Vigno), a group of producers whose goal is to create an appellation of origin for wines made from old Carignan vines from Maule and Cauquenes.

“We need more Vignos to show the true potential of Chilean wines,” he says. There are not many co-operativas and especially in valleys such as Itata it would be great to see a movement in that direction. This would allow us to create value for vine-growers with grapes that otherwise end up in generic blends of wines with no origin”.

Looking to the on-trade is what Volcanes de Chile’s Gordon thinks could reap rewards.

“Chile’s biggest opportunities lie in producers taking the on-premise more seriously where Chile is considerably under-represented.

“With fresher styles and more long-term strategies, I think Chile will start to become an interesting category for leading sommeliers.”

He adds: “Chile’s way forward remains relatively unchanged, with a focus on communicating the diversity and great value that exists. Smaller producers, lesser-known varieties and new regions will only help this and I do sense that you will start to see a greater separation between the large producers and their route to market and the smaller, more quality-driven producers whose wines offer a real point of difference for consumers who are willing to experiment.”

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Nick Strangeway

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COP26 littered newspaper headlines throughout November. The focus was supposed to be on resolving the climate change crisis, but predictably turned into a game of political chess. In the absence of any authoritative leadership, our industry needs to set an example.