Chile and Argentina are two New World countries, neighbors and known for their good wines. They are separated by the Andes mountains and influenced by similar climate conditions.
Argentina and Chile are both top wine producing countries, in 2013 Argentina was on a 5th place with producing 14,984 hectoliters per year and Chile on 6th with 12,800 hectoliters per year.
On 16th century Spanish conquerors brought different vines to Chile and Argentina but bigger wine production in Chile started on mid-19th century when vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère and Cabernet Franc were introduced and in Agrnetina when immigrants brought different varieties like Malbec, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo and Torrontés from Italy, Spain and France. Quality of the Chilean wine changed in the early 1980s, when wine producers started using stainless steel, fermentation tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. After that the wine export grew rapidly. Soon after that Argentina followed the same path, improving their wine quality and reaching out to foreign markets and wine experts. The main reason why Argentina followed Chile were the crises which caused the wine consumption to decrease in local markets.
- Influenced by The Andes mountain to the east and the Pacific ocean on the west
- Northern Chile is dry and warm as the southern part is more humid and cold
- Vineyards get water from Andes melting ice caps and rivers
- the latitudes of 32 and 38° s, comparable to Northern Africa and Southern Spain
- Most wine regions are located in the western part of the country, next to the Andes Mountains between the Tropic of Capricorn to the north and the 40th parallel south
- semi-arid desert-like, hot during the days104°F (40°C), cold at nights 50°F (10°C)
- Northern wine regions like Salta temperatures fall to 0Cº during winter, Southern wine regions like Mendoza stay warm
- High altitudes for growing grapes
- Atacama region
- Coquimbo region
- Aconcagua region
- Central Valley region
- San Juan
- La Rioja
Most grown vines
Chile: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenèrem, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon.
Argentina: Malbec, Bonarda, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Semillon, Tempranillo, Tannat, Griolla Chica, Griolla Grande, Cereza.
Some differences between Chile and Argentina
- Argentina has bigger variety of grapes
- Argentina is bigger by size and has different growing environments which makes it possible to grow different tyoe of vines
- Chilean wines are more known abroad because they have been exporting for longer period
- Argentine people drink more wine than Chilean per capita
- Agrentine number 1 grape is Malbec, Chilean number one grape is Cabernet Sauvignon
- Country has no phylloxera louse, it is an insect that live on grapevines and eat the roots
- In the late 20th century when Chilean wines got more popular in foreign markets it turned out that vines thought to be Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc actually weren’t. Their qualities and lack of some characters made people doubt about the authenticity and after tests Merlot turned out to be Carménère, grape that was found in very few regions and Sauvignon Blanc turned out to be Sauvignonasse.
- The only original grape from Agrentina is Torrontés. Malbec, the flagship wine of Argentina comes actually from France.
- Only 20 years ago most grown grape in Argentina was Bonarda, now it remains as number 2 after Malbec
- Most high altitude vineyards in the world can be found in Salta, Argentina