History of Chillian Wine

There's a bubbling sense of excitement in the Chilean wine industry, as sparkling as the bubbles in a Valdivieso methode champenoise. As the revitalized wine industry hurtles ahead, Japanese orders kept faxes running hot in January and February. Long years of hard work and heavy investment are beginning to pay bumper bonuses.

The constant quest to raise both quality and prices is paying dividends. A justified sense of self-worth is buoyed by keen excitement as Chile stamps a proprietary brand on the rediscovered grape Carmenere.

It all adds up to a glowing testimonial for the Chilean wine resurgency.

The incredible growth of Chile's output is a textbook example of how aggressive private enterprise can combine with enthusiastic government backing. The official trade organization, ProChile, is both effective in providing a back-up infrastructure for exporters and a source of information for global markets.

Statistics show the graphic results of this benign attitude. In 1988, Chile shipped 185,630 hectoliters (one hl = 26.4 U.S. gallons) abroad. By 1998, this had grown to an impressive 2.3 million hl worth US $500 million.

The value per bottle increased equally dramatically. As the 21st century dawned, Chile enjoyed a global reputation for quality. And its reach was worldwide. Instead of sending 88% of its wine to Latin America, as it had in the 1980s, it sold in high-profit markets like Europe (41% of all exports), North America (34%) and, increasingly, Asia, where in 1998 Chile sold 14% of its wine.

"Asia is the hope for future expansion," says Victor Costa Barros, a senior enologist and agronomist at the Ministry of Agriculture.

His research shows Asian imports rose 177% in 1998, with Japan leading the rush with a 283% increase in purchases.

The first recorded vintage in Chile was m 1551, when priests who swiftly followed the conquistadors south pressed grapes to make sacramental wines.

Three centuries later, prosperous landowners sent their sons for education to Europe, notably to France, Spain and Italy. They came home with a taste for wine and brought skilled European winemakers and architects with them.

This classical age of wine civilization saw the foundation of many of the great modern wineries, most of which were built in gracious parkland estates modeled on the great chateaux of Bordeaux.

The only country spared from the devastating blight of phylloxera, Chile's wine industry boomed in the early years of the 20th century. But then came a chapter of neglect when many of the fine wineries produced unimaginative bulk wine for internal consumption.

In 1981, there were 100,000 hectares (one ha = 2.47 acres) under vines, which sank to 67,000 in 1985, the nadir of the industry.

Then, a new sense of identity and purpose swept Chile's winemakers and investors. Suddenly, the wine revolution which had earlier had its impact on California and Australia caught on in Chile. There were gigantic investments in land, plantings and equipment. Visionaries saw a brilliant new future for quality wines. Old-fashioned vines were uprooted. In the late 1990s, Cabernet Sauvignon doubled from 11,000 to 20,000 hectares. Merlor vineyard acreage quadrupled between 1994 and 1999. Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc exploded while the "old" grapes stagnated.

Chillian Wines
Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Selection Chile 2013 $7.99
Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay Grand Selection Chile 2015 $7.99
Casa Lapostolle Merlot Grand Selection Chile 2013 $7.99
Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Grand Selection 2015 $7.99
Casa Lapostolle Canto De Apalta Rapel Valley Chile 2010 $15.99
Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2005 Wine of the Year 96/100 $99.99
Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2009 96/100 $79.99
Montes Alpha M Red Wine Chile 2006 94/100 $69.99
Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon Chile 2014 Must Buy Three Or More Bottles $5.99
Veramonte Red Blend Chile 2013 Must Buy Three Or More Bottles $5.99
All bottles of Wine are 750ml unless stated otherwise
Robert Parker Rating (Blue) - Wine Spectator Rating (Red) - Temporarily Out of Stock