After WWII, Chilean wine production declined dramatically, and the Chilean exports were reduced to a few large producers.
However in the 1980s, there were changes in the government’s economic policies and a renewed interest from international wine makers, which started a resurgence of the wine industry in Chile. One of the key international players was Spain’s Miguel Torres, who purchased a vineyard in Chile and introduced modern wine making technologies to the Chilean wine makers. Torres was a key inspiration of Alfonso Chadwick Errázuriz of Vina Errázuriz, who spent a great deal of time in Europe to gain recognition for Chilean wine. He organized the “Berlin Tasting” in 2004, which pitted prestigious French and Italian wines against 6 Chilean wines. To the surprise of all, two of Errázuriz’s wine came in first and second place, beating out the famed Chateau Lafite. Even with renewed international appreciation, the Chilean wine industry continued to be dominated by larger wineries such as Concha y Toro. However, recently there is a push to provide more opportunities for smaller, artisanal producers, with organizations such as MOVI and VIGNO.
In the coming weeks, I will be traveling to Chile, and I hope to share with you much more insight and inspiration for drinking Chilean wines. Salud!
Photo Credit: Food & Beverage Magazine