The most famous Chilean wine-growing regions are located in Valle Central, a long valley, embedded between the Andes in the East and the Cordillera Range in the west.
The vicinity of the valley to the mountains and to the Pacific and the resulting topography considerably influence Chile's viticulture. In close proximity to each other, there are multiple micro-climates, each of which is suited to growing a wide variety of qualitatively excellent grapes with diverse characteristics.
Valle del Maipo
The Maipo Valley is the northernmost sub-region of the Valle Central and also the oldest wine-growing region in Chile. For a long time, it was regarded as the best wine-growing region in Chile, especially because of its outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons. The climate in Maipo Valley is warm and dry, although the climatic influences of the Pacific and the Andes, as well as the soil conditions throughout the entire valley tend to vary significantly. The red wines of the Maipo Valley continue to rate among the best in Chile, while the cultivation of white wines is gradually increasing, especially in the coastal regions.
Valle de Rapel
The Rapel Valley is located to the south and its vineyards have been primarily planted on alluvial areas at altitudes of 600 to 1000 meters. Diverse micro-climates provide for the cultivation of different varietals. The Mediterranean climate offers moisture and windy conditions similar to those in Maipo. The Rapel Valley is foremost a red wine region and is home to numerous traditional wineries.
Valle de Curicó
The borders of the Curicó Valley meet the south border of the Rapel Valley.
The region is characterized by a Mediterranean climate and soil rich in loam and clay. The Curicó Valley experiences a significant drop in night-time temperatures, which causes the grapes to mature slowly and ensures that they maintain their acidity. This results in the especially fresh and fruit driven character which wines from this region display. Together with the Rapel Valley, the Curicó Valley forms the heart of the Valle Central.
Valle del Maule
The southern border of the Valle Central is formed by the largest Chilean wine-growing area, the Maule Valley. Here, the valley is wider than in the north and provides for convenient development and cultivation of vineyards at low altitudes. The valley owes its name to the Rio Maule, which crosses through the center of the wine region, and which, along with other rivers fed by glacial waters from the Andes, ensures the water supply for the entire region.