Although wine production in Chile is centuries old due to its introduction by early Spanish settlers, it is only in the last few decades of the XX century that local wineries have established more advanced wine-making methods and practices resulting from elite consulting by French, Australian and Californian enologists. This has led to an increase of international contacts and joint venture opportunities, namely with French and U.S. vineyards. As a result, Chilean wine has elevated in prestige to be ranked amongst the best of the world.
The Maipo Valley is Chile’s oldest and most famous growing area. It’s a subregion within the larger central valley region and lies just south of Santiago, Chile’s capital city. Although Maipo isn’t the largest area, it contains a considerable concentration of vineyards and a large representation of important producers, largely due to its close proximity to Santiago. Ocean breezes and elevation provide a number of cool growing areas within the region. The official areas within the Maipo Valley are Buin, Isla de Maipo, Melipilla, Pirque, Pueto Alto, Santiago, and Talagante. For the most part, this is red-wine country, with cabernet sauvignon the most celebrated and widely planted variety. There are also good examples of chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, and sémillon being produced.