(Food & Wine) While Chile is considered by many as part of the New World, wine has technically been produced in the South American country since the 1500s, when Spanish missionaries started cultivating the País variety to make wine for Mass. Today, around 800 viñas (wineries) and 11,697 growers cultivate 336,000 acres or 136 sq km.
What the curiously narrow Andean nation lacks in breadth — a mere 221 miles or 355 km at its widest point — it makes up for in length, boasting an impressive 2,653 miles or 4267 km of Pacific coastline, of which 800 miles or 1287 km are cultivated with vineyards. Positioned as the world’s sixth-largest producer according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, 17 main winemaking regions that incorporate more than 110 denominations of origin (DOs) are cocooned between the omnipresent mountain range and the ocean. There are three climatic designations known as Andes, Entre Cordilleras and Costa at latitudes extending between 17° and 46°, from the Atacama desert in the north, to the Osorno Valley in the southern Los Lagos lake district. Cool-climate influence comes from the Pacific and the Humboldt Current that create cool morning fog as well as Andean breezes, while hot, dry summers contribute Mediterranean characteristics to wines.
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