Chilean Wine Guide

Chilean wine may not be as famous as its French or Italian cousins, but it has history, culture & flavor.

Though Chilean wine may not be as famous as its French or Italian cousins, this South American delicacy packs a delightful mix of history, culture, and flavor.

As the second-largest producer of wine on the continent and the seventh-largest in the world, Chile certainly knows a thing or two about bringing quality wine to the masses. With nearly 500 years of practice and refinement, Chilean winemakers offer a selection of wines distinctly unique to this beautiful region's climate, soil, and tradition.

To learn more about this New World wine mecca, read on for our Guide to Chilean Wine as we break down this country’s vino culture, growing regions, and top varietals/blends:

Chile wine guide.

The History of Chilean Wine

While Chile is undoubtedly a New World growing region, the history behind its wine industry stretches back centuries:

Humble Beginnings

Located below the equator and flanked by the Pacific Ocean, Andes Mountains, and the Atacama Desert, Chile exists in a “bubble” that regulates its climate and fiercely protects its fertile growing regions.

Though locals have grown wine since the 1500s, the first escalation of Chilean wine production didn’t occur until the 1800s.

While the rest of the world’s wine regions suffered the wrath of phylloxera, a toxic vineyard pest, in the 19th century, Chilean grapevines enjoyed a permanent immunity provided by their protective terreno (terrain) throughout the era.

This protection, combined with the introduction of European grape varieties by immigrants, created a steady boom in Chilean wines' production throughout the mid to late 1800s.

While the country wouldn’t begin exportation for another century, the love affair between Chileans and their vino had begun.

International Fame

In modern times, the Chilean wine industry is a source of passion, pride, and profit for its people. Since vino exports became big business for the country in the 1990s, increased visibility went hand in hand with skyrocketing sales of its beloved wines.

Enjoying the country’s unique vino and dedication to sustainable production, drinkers consume more than $160 million of Chilean wine per year -- in the United States alone. On a global scale, Chilean wine accounts for nearly $800 million in yearly sales -- over 2% worldwide.

Hot on Argentina's tails, the continent’s largest wine exporter, Chile is a modern success story rooted in history, tradition, and innovation that shows no signs of slowing down.

Glass of Chilean red wine.

Chilean Wine Regions

In addition to the national passion that fuels its wine production, Chilean vino owes a great debt to its tierra fértil (fertile soil) and clima ideal (ideal climate).

While there is a multitude of growing areas in this long, skinny country, we’ll focus on three of the nation’s most celebrated vino regions:

Central Valley (Valle Central) Region

If you’re looking to lose yourself in Chilean cuisine and wine country, there may be no better place than Valle Central. 

Located in the center of this South American country, the Central Valley region is one of Chile’s largest and most diverse growing regions.

From Viognier and Riesling in cool, wet portions of the Northern Valley to Cabernet SauvignonMerlot, and Syrah in warm, dry areas of the Southern Valley, there are varietals and blends to enjoy for all kinds of drinkers.

Winery to Visit

A wine lover’s dream, the Bodegas y Vinedos De Aguirre winery in Central Chile offers tastings of the region’s iconic red varietals and blends, in addition to a selection of cool and refreshing whites.

Colchagua Valley

Famous for its production of beloved Chilean reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, and Carmenère, the Colchagua Valley is one of the country’s most profitable wine regions. 

With a warm climate gently influenced by a cool ocean breeze, the region has fertile soil and an excellent reputation that make it a crown jewel of the Chilean wine industry. 

Plus, if you prefer white wines, the cooler, western portion of the region makes excellent Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, setting itself apart from the bevy of delicious reds produced in the valley’s warmer, Eastern region.

Winery to Visit

If you’re looking for an authentic experience of the Colchagua Valley, TerAustral Wines offers you the chance to take in the beauty of the Chilean countryside, sample a tremendous selection of wines and even enjoy a romantic cable car ride to the top of the Chamán Hill.

Maule Valley

As Chile’s largest wine-producing region, Maule Valley is a burgeoning hub of world-class, South American wine. 

Despite its large-scale production, the region makes excellent, responsible use of its 75,000 acres of rich soil to grow and produce wonderful reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Syrah, and various other blends. 

While red wines thrive in this growing area due to its fertile, free-draining soil and usually warm climate, you can undoubtedly find fantastic whites like Chardonnay from chillier areas of this iconic region.

Winery to Visit

For a taste of the Maule Valley’s wine and culture, the Cremaschi Furlotti winery combines Old World Italian roots with New World Chilean wine culture to create a unique and exciting tasting experience.

Central Valley (Valle Central) Region

If you’re looking to lose yourself in Chilean cuisine and wine country, there may be no better place than Valle Central.

Located in the center of this South American nation, the Central Valley region is one of Chile’s largest and most successful growing regions. With a wide diversity of terrains and climates, the valley offers an incredible, wide-ranging selection of wines:

From Viognier and Riesling in cool, wet portions of the Northern Valley to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah in warm, dry areas of the Southern Valley, there are varietals and blends to enjoy for all kinds of drinkers.

Winery to Visit

For those who love sustainably produced wine, Antiyal Winery has been the home to some of Chile’s most delicious, biodynamic wines since 1996.

Family-run and ecologically inspired, this vineyard is world-famous for its flagship selection of red wines lovingly grown in the Central Valley.

Chilean Wines

Argentina is known for a variety of its famed red wines, but there are popular whites to be found as well:

Cabernet Sauvignon

The crown jewel of the country’s wine industry, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon celebrates the complex flavor and balance of tannin and acidity that made Chilean reds famous worldwide.

A reflection of the region’s prime growing conditions, this famous varietal combines influences from France’s Bordeaux region with traditional Chilean winemaking elements to create a wine with a juicy flavor, soft tannins, and a silky texture.

Inspired by over 200 years of history, the modern Chilean Cabernet also features subtle spice notes that perfectly complement its fuller body, adding an exotic flair to this vino staple.

Learn more about Cabernet Sauvignon here!

Sauvignon Blanc

Though Chilean red wine may be one of the country’s most famous exports, the region still offers a tantalizing, if smaller, selection of highly-acclaimed white varietals.

Chief among these is Sauvignon Blanc, the signature white wine of Chile. Grown in the Atacama, Coquimbo, and Central Valley regions alike, this prized varietal benefits from the country’s cool climate and proximity to the ocean, which give the wine its unique structure and intensity.

Featuring distinct minerality and a pleasant balance of fruitiness, the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc offers flavor, aroma, and experience that set it apart from its Old World counterparts.

Learn more about Sauvignon Blanc here!


A staple of many of Chile’s wine regions, Chilean Syrah is a popular red varietal with fans worldwide.

Known for its full-body, strong notes of black fruit, and a plentiful helping of spice, this wine has a bold, assertive personality that brings a lot of complexity to the table.

Grown in a wide variety of Chilean vineyards, this wine is a staple on local dinner tables, as it combines wonderfully with hearty, spicy foods and your favorite cuts of South American beef.

Whether you’re new to Syrah or a fan of more traditional Old World varietals, Chilean Syrah is absolutely worth a try. With production and sales doubling in the last decade, this wine has established itself as a clear crowd-pleaser.

Learn more about Syrah here!

A Taste of Chile

Now that you know all about Chilean wine, it’s time to check out our Chilean Wine Collection and explore Wine Insiders’ diverse and delicious selection of Old and New World varietals and blends:

Whether you’re looking for exciting New World bottles from Chile or New Zealand or a case of Old World classics from Italy or France, we have the wine and expertise to broaden your horizons and introduce you to a whole new world of flavor, culture, and fun!

For more information about wine regions, pairings, and more - check out our full library of Wine 101 Guides!