Chilean Wines Export History
July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
During the 1800’s Chilean wines saw a rebirth. The newly independent country sought its own identity and new opportunities for its citizens. Political agendas supported merchants, large land owners, foreign investment, the church and military. Towards the end of the century Chile would defeat Peru and Boliva during the War of the Pacific and increase their territory by a third. The new lands included valuable nitrate deposits in the north which ushered in an era of national affluence.
Long isolated in the new world the Chileans now yearned for knowledge of all things European. The era of steamship travel made the trans-Atlantic crossing faster and easier. France became a favorite destination and all things French – fashion, food, architecture and wine consumption became all the rage in Santiago. Before long French style wineries began to be built outside the city.
Wealthy Chilean families built French style country estates outside the city with large mansions surrounded by vineyards and European style gardens. Some of Chile’s best known wineries were established during this time including Carmen, Concha y Toro, Cousino Macul, Santa Carolina, Santa Rita, Undurranga and Errazuiz Panquehue.
Trans-Atlantic trade brought opportunities to both sides of the ocean. Chile would lead the New World in Wine exports. However for all its advantages it also brought the phylloxera aphid from North America to Europe which devastated French vineyards and created the Great French Wine Blight. Without French Wines available, Chilean Wines boomed in popularity and could be found throughout Europe and the Americas. Despite the success of Chilean Wines, by the end of the century the political tide at home changed again and land reforms and closed-door policy cease Chilean Wine Exportation until the 1980’s ushering modern era of Chilean Wines.