Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Chilean winemakers nearly swept an international wine contest this month, winning all but a few accolades at the event.

The contest, Vinalies Catad’or América Latina 2009, was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Santiago beginning July 9. The competition, put on by the French Enologists Union, included over 70 samples from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia.

Chilean vineyards came out the big winners of the event, taking home 51 of 52 gold medals and 64 of 69 silver medals. “Best Red,” a 2007 Shiraz from the Arboleda Vineyard, and “Best White,” a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from J. Bouchon were among the judges’ favorites.

Only one gold medal was awarded to a non-Chilean wine; a Bolivian wine won for “Best Distilled.”

Following the rules of Vinalies Internationales, a French wine tasting and rating organization, the Chilean contest had five committees doing blind taste tests, each with three local and two international judges and a French wine expert, or enologist, presiding.

Chile has long enjoyed prestige as one of the world’s best wine-growing regions, particularly due to its rich, diverse climate and its lack of phylloxera, a pest that decimated European and North American vineyards and began the practice of grafting grapevine species together to maximize resistance against various pests.

Chilean wines won the top two spots at the Berlin Tasting in 2009, held in Stockholm, beating out the world-famous Château Lafite, classified as one of the four best French wines in the world.

The country ranked 11th in the world for total vineyard acreage in 2006 with 479,000 acres, an increase of roughly one third since the year 2000, and tenth for total production by ton, with over 2.2 million tons in 2006. Chile is also 38th in the world for per-capita wine consumption, right below French Polynesia and above Aruba, with 15.5 liters consumed per person in 2005, an 11.11 percent increase since 2001.


By Daniel Zarchy (

This entry was posted in Santiago Times and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>