Over 25,000 wine connoisseurs, journalists and buyers poured into the 2012 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival last week to sample varietals from around the world, paying special attention to the 35 Chilean vineyards and vintners in attendance.
As one of the world’s largest and oldest wine festival events, the Vancouver festival chooses a theme wine-producing nation each year. Chilean wineries and the wine industry’s chief representative, Wines of Chile, earned the spotlight for 2012, honoring a centuries-long tradition of wine-growing alongside the nation’s rapidly-expanding wine offerings for the export market.
Wine Festival Executive Director Harry Hertscheg underlined the remarkable evolution of the Chilean wine industry in the last decade as a reason for showcasing the nation’s many wines.
“What we are really doing this year is introducing a world of Chilean wine that has never been seen in Vancouver before,” Hertscheg said, Canadian radio station News1130 reported.
When Spanish colonizers arrived in Chile in the 16th century, they discovered what festival organizers call a “viticultural Eden.” Bringing vines over from Europe, colonizers gave birth to what today is one of the world’s most diverse wine industries in the world, thanks to Chile’s rich variety in terroirs and unique climatic attributes, which make the nation an ideal spot for sustainable winegrowing.
“Canada is a key market for Chilean wines,” said Juan Somavía, Managing Director of Wines of Chile, “and we are delighted to have the opportunity to share the New Chile with Canadian industry heads and wine lovers alike.”
Five hundred Chilean wines were on display for tasting and sales during the week-long festival, which ran from February 27 to March 4.
A dozen festival events likewise centered on the Chilean wine industry, highlighting the industry’s organic and biodynamic wines and indulging guests in tastings of and the history behind Chile’s most iconic wines. At the International Festival Tasting Room’s Wines of Chile Focus Station, guests sampled three of Chile’s wine greats: Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chile is the fifth largest wine exporter in the world, sending its varietals to 150 countries and 1.5 billion consumers, according to festival materials. Wines of Chile seeks to position Chile as the world’s top producer of sustainable and premium wines by 2020, promoting high quality eco-friendly wines from of the most diverse wine-producing regions on the planet.