Where can we find Catmenere?

Isolated by the Andes to the east, the Atacama desert to the north and the Pacific ocean to the west, Chile is the only country in the world not affected by the Phylloxera.

It stretches from latitudes 17 to 56s, resulting in an extreme climatic diversity. This, together with the different type of soils and influences from the ocean and the mountains, creates the conditions for different terroirs and wine regions. Carménère , although originated from France, can be considered the signature grape of this country. 

The most important regions in chile are:



Central Valley


Coquimbo: Where wine met Chile

The northernmost main wine region of Chile, it borders the Atacama dessert. It is considered the birthplace of viticulture in Chile. As the region suffers from frequent droughts, vines are planted in the river valleys. The three main ones are:

Elqui Valley:  Stretching east to west, this valley has one of the clearer skies of the world, meaning that the vines can benefit of more sunlight hours during ripening.

✾ Limari Valley: This valley river provides a shelter from an otherwise semiarid region. Around half of the irrigated hectares of the Coquimbo region are located here. Some of the best wines of Chile are produced in this region.

✾ Choapa Valley: Considered one of the youngest wine regions of Chile, the grapes produced here were overwhelmingly used for Pisco production as late as 2010s. This has change with the arrival of new winemakers that have started to define the true expression of this terroir.



Chile is a country of wonders, isolated by the Andes, the Atacama desert and the Pacific Ocean. For this reason, is the biggest region never affected by the Phylloxera that devastated vineyards around the globe. The signature grape of Chile is Carmenere, hence my name. This variety comes from France but, after the Phylloxera epidemic, it can be rarely found in its native country.

Most of my job takes place indoors, where I look for mice and other rodents among the oak barrels. I also take care of the children and likes to sleep besides the newborn baby. However, they do not let me sleep in the cot even when the baby is no using it. Outdoors it’s my friend, the Güiña, that look after the vineyard. It’s a native wild cat from Chile with a small size. They prefer to live on the forest and avoid contact with humans but, as forest shrink in size, they come closer to human settlements. Organisations like Alianza Gato Andino and Reñihue Foundation are increasing their efforts so humans and small felines can coexist and we can preserve the habitat of these species.

In the picture I’m wearing a modern interpetation of a Mapuche dress and Mapuche jewelry and I’m helping humans to make wine treading Carmenere grapes. Did you know that the Mapuche are the biggest indigenous community of Chile and that they preserved their independence until the end of the 19th century?

Aconcagua: Between the Andes and the Pacific

Located within the administrative region of Valparaiso, this area enjoys a more temperate climate than the arid region of Coquimbo. The oceanic influence as well as the altitude accounts for most of the differences between the three main subregions: Aconcagua Valley, Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley

Aconcagua Valley: This steep valley enjoys some of the warmest growing conditions in Chile. Cabernet Sauvignon has historically dominated this region while the hectares planted with Syrah and Carmenère have seen an increase in recent year.

✾ San Antonio Valley: Being the closest Chilean wine region to the Pacific Ocean, this region is particularly suited for cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

✾ Casablanca Valley: The morning mist that comes in off the Pacific Ocean, due to the cold Humbolt current, have an important cooling effect and provide ideal conditions for the growing of varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay


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Central Valley: The heartland of Chile’s wine industry

This region is, by far, the biggest in Chile in terms of size and production, concentrating more than 75% of the vines dedicated to wine production. Roughly 4/5 of the hectares are planted with red varieties. The main wine subregions, from north to south, are:

Maipo Valley: Considered the heartland of Chilean viticulture, this is the closest region to the capital, Santiago de Chile. It’s almost surrounded by mountains, isolating this region from the influence of the Pacific ocean. Altitude and the cool winds blowing from the Andes mountains This valley is well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, that usually has hints of mint.

Cachapoal Valley: A warm valley cut off from ocean breezes, this subregion is well suited for varieties such as Carmenère, that ripes well in the valley floors, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, in its cooler eastern part, closer to the Andes.

✾ Maule Valley: At the southern edge of the Central Valley region, País is, without any doubt, the signature grape of Maule. Being close to the port of Concepción, this was one of the leading regions of Chilean wine industry, accounting alone for roughly 25% of the country’s wine production.

✾ Curicó Valley: The great diurnal range of this region allows the Sauvignon Blanc grapes to preserve high levels of acidity. In the warmest areas, it’s possible to find vines of Cabernet Sauvignon more than 100 years old.

Colchagua Valley: Larger and with a bigger climatic diversity than Cachapoal, this subregion is well suited for varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Carmenère. The central part of this valley receives some influence from the Pacific ocean. Further west, this influence becomes stronger, creating the perfect conditions for white varieties such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

The South: The lands of the Mapuche

Situated at the southern hemisphere limited for vine growing, this region is noticeably cooler and wetter compared with the other Chilean producing areas.

Arguably the forgotten heartland of Chilean wine, at the beginning of the 19th century around 75% of the vine hectares of the country were located in this region. A century later, the modernization of the wine industry in the Central Valley region moved the center of gravity of the industry further north. The three main subregions are:

Bio Bio Valley: Heavily impacted by the plantations of Eucaliptus and Pine Trees in the 70’s, during the Pinochet dictatorship, this wine region with more than 400 years of history is home of some of the oldest vines of the country, with more than 100 years old. The mild temperatures, high rainfall and volcanic soils present ideal condition for varieties such as Pinot Noir, Riesling or Chardonnay.

Itata Valley: One of the most important wine regions during the Spanish colonization, the most important grape varieties are those brought by them: País and Muscat of Alexandria. Rainfall is almost the triple than in Central Valley, where droughts are not uncommon.

✾ Malleco Valley: Located in the Araucanía, this region, home of the Mapuche, remained independent until the 1880’s. For this reason, viticulture did not arrive to this region during the Spanish colony but much later, in the 1990’s, when Chilean producers were looking for cooler climates for varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The climate conditions of this small subregion is similar to Champagne but it enjoys more hours of sunlight.