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Itata

The wine growing area Valle de Itata (Itata Valley) is located 400 kilometres south of the capital Santiago and 50 kilometres east of Concepción in Chile. Together with the Bío-Bío and Malleco areas, it forms the Valle Sur region as the northernmost of these. It is crossed by the Itata and Ñuble rivers. The climate is characterized by cool and windy summers and rainy winters. The vineyards cover about 10,000 hectares of vines on sandy soils rich in minerals and high yields. They are mainly planted with the two traditional varieties Moscatel de Alejandría(Muscat d'Alexandrie) and País(Listán Prieto). In contrast to the more northern areas, sufficient rainfall does not require artificial irrigation.

Already in the early colonial period, Spanish immigrants in the 16th century cultivated vineyards here and produced wines for the whole country from the traditional varieties. With the introduction of French vines and their cultivation in warmer areas with the resulting better quality of wine, the area fell into oblivion. Only since the end of the 1990s has the production of better quality wines, mainly from the international varieties Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, begun, in addition to the simple mass wines. Well known producers are Casas de Giner, Tierras de Arrau, Tierra y Fuego and Viñedos del Larqui.

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