The Southern Regions, referred to as the bastion of viticulture in Chile, have been into winemaking for hundreds of years. However, most of the wines were not of good quality; hence, were just domestically consumed. They have been planting Pais or other cheaper varieties of grapes in most areas in this region and only recently that popular grape varieties, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay were introduced, grown and produced in the area.
The southernmost part of Chile has a cold and more wintery breeze as compared to the areas in the north and is divided into two sub-regions. The kind of climate the southern region has enabled the vineyards situated in this area to grow grapes that are appropriate to the cold temperature.
Itata Valley is not a newbie when it comes to growing grapes and winemaking. In this area, some of the earliest vineyards were started during the colonial period. The region is a mix feel of old and new vineyards, which have been permeating the area’s ancient bush vines. This allows for further exploration and growth in terms of grape wine growing. Cooler summer days and rainy winters make up Itata Valley’s climate condition. Its mineral-rich and sandy soils are best suited for high-yielding grape varieties. Wines from Itata have been considered as part of Chile’s best wines. However, it came to a point that Itata was almost forgotten in the wine industry as premier European wines have been introduced and there has been rigorous production of wines from warmer regions. But this didn’t stop the vineyards in this region from innovating new techniques to produce high-quality wines and successfully regained its position as one of Chile’s premier wine-producing regions. They are also concentrating on producing fine vintage wines with the idea of harvesting the white grapes from the end of February towards mid-March and harvesting the red grapes from this point to the end of April. The Moscatel de Alexandria still proved to be the dominant variety in this region alongside the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Through the years, the Bio Bio Valley’s viticulture has been known for producing simple table wines. Its mineral-rich, naturally sandy and stony soils help keep the territory high-yielding and fertile. This proved to be suitable for growing Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Viognier grape varieties. The cooler climate allows the grapes to fully ripen and develop complex flavors of white wine that wine connoisseurs around the world would totally love. This region became famous in the global market due to the fact that more and more wine connoisseurs and lovers have been investing in some good, crisp aromatic wines that it mainly produces. This appetite for popularity in the wine industry may be ambitious for some winemakers, but Bio Bio proved that its terroir did not only produce the finest Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties, but also other premier wine grapes.
Chile’s southernmost region, Malleco, had been reputed to be suitable for growing Chardonnay while continuously experimenting with Pinot Noir. The only disadvantage is that the rains seem to be abundant in this area with a shorter growing season, making it difficult to grow other varieties of grapes on its landscape.
Despite the bumps this region has encountered in growing and producing wine grapes, it proved to be unstoppable in creating new ways to carve a niche in Chile’s wine industry.