Genuinely Chilean: Carmenere Wine
15. January 2022
Some of the best wine growing regions are renowned for a specific grape variety. Thanks to a historical accident, Chile has its own a first-class genuine specialty: Carmenere, formerly grown all over Europe and France above all, nowadays is found almost exclusively in Chile. The variety came to Chile from France in the middle of the 19th century. Thanks to the mild climate in the Chilean Central Valley, the conditions for the variety were not only good in Chile, but they were also even far better than in Europe. Only a few years after the Chileans had begun to grow Carmenere, large parts of European vineyards were destroyed by the phylloxera plague, including almost all Carmenere stocks. French wine growers then preferred other, more resistant varieties and in the course of time, Carmenere fell into oblivion in Europe.
Chileans continued to grow Carmenere, but due to only few experts in the country and the poor possibilities of communication, the Chilean Carmenere was mistaken for a type of Merlot. For more than a hundred years, nobody was able to explain the difference in taste between the Chilean Merlots and those of other origin. It was only in 1994 that science succeeded, and the mistake was discovered by a French expert via DNA analysis. The forgotten French grape variety had actually become an exclusive Chilean product overnight! The first “real” Chilean Carmenere was produced in 1996. Since then, Chilean oenologists have been working continuously and very successfully on improving their Carmenere wines. Today, there are over 8,000 hectares of Carmenere vines, and the number is only increasing. In 1997, only half a percent of the Chilean wine production was Carmenere, in 2018 it was almost 7,5%.
It is now not only exported to Europe, Chileans themselves are now proud of “their” wine and enjoy it on many occasions.
So, if you are in already Chile, for a language study trip in Chile, an internship in Chile or a volunteer job in Chile, then just go on a wine tour and try Carmenere! Around Santiago there are countless beautiful wineries.
Are you not here yet, but you feel like coming? Then just contact us and we will help you to organize your stay abroad in Chile. In addition to the above mentioned programs, we also offer Farm Stays in Chile, Work & Travel in Chile or Au Pair in Chile.