Carved from Chile’s coastal mountain range, the Casablanca and Valparaíso valley offers a beautiful green landscape stretching out ot the Pacific Ocean, a perfect location for vineyards and cool-climate grapes whose vines are kissed by the fresh ocean breezes. Now, this picturesque valley and the delicious flavors produced here officially make up the tenth wine capital of the world.
In a unanimous vote, The Great Wine Capitals Global Network chose Chile’s Valparaíso and Casablanca valley to join its distinguished list of wine capitals. The list includes both old and new “worlds of wine,” such as Spain’s Bilbao and Rioja region, Bordeaux in France, Cape Town and Cape Winelands in South Africa, Mendoza in Argentina, and the San Francisco and Napa Valley in the United States.
“We are proud to be accepted as a Great Wine Capital and look forward to being an active and energetic member,”a member of the Valparaíso Casablanca Valley Initiative (VCV) which helped bring the area to the Network, said after the announcement. “We believe this important international award will not only be to the benefit of the Valparaíso and Casablanca Valley region, but also to Chile and all its people.”
One of the major facets of being a wine capital is being a destination for wine tourism, something Chile has proudly been working to develop.
More than 15 percent of tourists to Chile cite the country’s wine and vineyards as a reason they chose it as their destination, according to Jacqueline Plass, under-secretary of Tourism in Chile.
“This news is incredibly important for the development of wine tourism, which currently represents 6 percent of the industry,” Ms. Plass said.
The Valparaíso and Casablanca Valley is known for its top-quality, flavorful cool-climate wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The first commercial vines were planted in the mid-1980’s and the relatively young vineyards have quickly made a name for themselves on the world stage.
The valley’s privileged location between the mountains and the ocean provide a unique terroir and its success has led to innovative Chilean winemakers searching for new regions to explore in this very geographically diverse country. Today new vineyards can be found as far north as the Elqui Valley all the way down to the Malleco Valley in Patagonia, at the extreme south of the the country.