Chile has four large wine regions of which Aconcagua, the Valle Central, and the Region Sur 0 Meridional are the best.
These four are split into sub regions and where necessary also into zones.The most productive areas are Maule, Curico, Rapel, and Maipo, all located within the Valle Central between Santiago and Cauquenes.
The Aconcagua region is the furthest north Chilean wine-growing area and it comprises two sub regions of the Valle del Aconcagua and the Valle de Casablanca. The Aconcagua valley is fairly flat and extends from the Andes to the sea. This long valley is 21 /2 miles (4 kilometres) across at its widest point and is enclosed by mountains of 4,921-5,905 feet (1,500- 1,800 metres) high. The climate is of the Mediterranean type: moderately hot.
The Casablanca valley is smaller but more densely planted than the Aconcagua valley. It lies closer to the sea and therefore benefits from the cooling and moist sea breezes which are always apparent here. There are also not mountains but undulating hills of no more than 1 ,300 feet (400 metres) .
Running from north to south you first encounter the Maipo valley then the Rappel valley, followed by the Curicó valley, and then the Maule valley. The Maipo valley, called Maipo for short, runs on either side of the river of the same name. This valley stretches from the foot of the Andes to the sea and varies in height from 3,280 feet (1,000 metres) in the east to 1,640 feet (500 metres) in the west. This height difference and oceanic influence from the west lead to a big difference in planting from east to west.
The Valle de Rapel or just Rapel is much larger than the Maipo valley and is watered by the rivers Cachapoal and Tinguirrica, which run into the Rapel river. The average height is quite low, less than 1,640 feet (500 metres) but some vineyards are sited at up to 3,280 feet (1,000 metres) at the foot of the mountains. It is more than twice as humid here as in the Maipo valley because of the moist sea winds which easily enter the valley.
The Valle de Curicó or just Curicó is much smaller than the Rapel valley but is more efficiently and densely planted so that the vineyards useful area is slightly greater than that of the Rape!. This valley does not get its name from the river of the same name but from the town of Curic6. The vineyards are situated mainly in the central plain but a few are located on the steeper ground at the foot of the mountains. The climate here is quite moist as a result of the nearby ocean.
The Valle del Maul or Maule is the most southerly valley of this central part of the Chilean wine industry. It is an enormous area but not necessarily efficiently planted everywhere. Irrigation comes from the Maule and its tributaries.
The quiet elongated valley is surround by the Andes in the east and the hills behind the coast to the west. Despite this it is a fairly moist area, particularly in winter.
Other wine areas
A further two wine areas are situated in the extreme north and south of Chile. Coquimbo region in the north has sub zones of the Elqui, Limari, and Choapa valleys and in the south there are the lata and Bio valleys.
| These areas produce a great deal of base wine for the famous Pisco wine distillery.
Changes have been taking place here in recent years such as the introduction of better grapes.