(417) The Chilean Organic Wine Industry

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  • 1 1Universidad de las Americas, Horticulture, Santiago, Chile
  • | 2 2University of Florida/SW-FREC, Horticulture, Immokalee, FL, 34143-9515

The Chilean organic wine industry has comparative advantages with Europe and the United States because of its ideal environmental conditions, resulting in low presence of pests and diseases and lower production cost. Additionally, the wine production process is one of the strictest in the world, so the transformation from conventional to organic wine production can be achieved economically. A survey was conducted of 32 Chilean organic vineyards during 2004. The survey included 18 questions about total surface area, certification, varieties, final market, etc. The survey covered 95% of the land under organic wine production, with a total of 1892 ha, of which 1088 ha have organic certification and 804 ha are in transition to organic production. The major vineyards and valleys with organic wine production are Maipo (33.7%), Colchagua (17.2%), El Maule (14.0%), Curicó (9.9%), and Cachapoal (8.8%). The most important organic red varieties currently under production are `Cabernet Sauvignon' (40.9%), `Merlot' (15.1%), `Syrah' (9.1%), `Carmenere' (7.3%), `Malbec' (3.3%), and `Pinot Noir' (2.5%). The white varieties are `Sauvignon Blanc' (6.4%), `Chardonnay' (5.1%), and `Semillón' (1.0%). The potential for the organic wine industry in Chile is tremendous since organic vineyards represent only 2% of the total vineyard industry.

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