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Chile takes 10th Great Wine Capital

Chile’s Casablanca Valley is officially the world’s tenth Great Wine Capital! Announced at a conference in the VINEXPO wine fair last month, Casablanca Valley and Valparaiso were inaugurated into an exclusive list of wine and tourism world capitals organised by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network (GWC).

This is an important landmark for Chile as it is the country’s first wine capital and will attract tourism and more prestige to the growing national wine tourism industry. “We believe that to be part of this acknowledgement is very important not only for Casablanca Valley but also for Chile as a category – we are filled with pride,” commented Wines of Chile Director Claudio Cilveti. “Wine Tourism is key to developing the image of the country because it involves not only the wines but everything that is around the viticultural world. This acknowledgement is a clear signal that the level that Casablanca has achieved is at a world class standard and that is very well deserved and important.”

Spearheaded by the Asociacion Viñas de Casablanca, the President Giorgianna Cúneo Queirolo and the rest of the association worked with the Mayor of Casablanca and the Mayor of Valparaiso to present the region to GWC. “To make a great wine capital you need certain things like to have a destination place,” says Giorgianna. “Casablanca has a lot of things like wineries to visit in the day but during the night it’s a bit quiet… It’s important to make the complete panorama and experience. Valparaiso (42km away) has UNESCO heritage, an emblematic port, great shopping, nightlife, restaurants, boutique hotels and entertainment… and all these things unify together to make it a complete tourism and wine destination.”

The GWC commission (with members from Napa, Mendoza and Bordeaux) visited in February 2013 to experience the different tourism proposals in Casablanca wineries and visit Valparaiso in order to make their decision as to whether it merited being the 10th Great Wine Capital in the world. After a week long visit and two months of deliberation, they decided it did.

Although Chile has a wealth of attractive wine regions and tourism proposals, Casablanca is one of the pearls in Chile’s necklace. Discovered 30 years ago, it pioneered the way into cool climate wines across Chile and is the second most visited enotourism area in the country. “In the last few years we have developed tourism a lot,” comments Giorgianna who also owns a winery in Casablanca, Casas del Bosque. “Everyday there are more wineries open to visitors and we have a great diversity to show to visitors: family wineries, biodynamic, boutique, sparkling wine… In terms of wine we also have great diversity.”

As Casablanca and Valparaiso prepare for the start to the high season (October) as a new Wine Capital, other wine regions in country can also look forward to their own doors being opened as wine tourists focus their attention on Chile.

By Amanda Barnes
Photographs by Amanda Barnes (top: Casas del Bosque; below: Estancia El Cuadro

el cuadro, rodeoCasas del bosque

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