South American Wine regions for dummies

South America



Denominations of Origin (DO)

  • Atacama
  • Coquimbo
  • Aconcagua
  • The Valle Central
  • Sur

–       Chilean wine law 75% rule: Vintage, varietal and denomination of origin must comprise 75% of the blend

–       Requires all Chilean wine to show minimum alcohol of 11.5%

–       Wines labeled “reserva” and “Reserva especial” must have a minimum of 12% alcohol

Red Grapes: Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Carmenere, Merlot, Cab Sav

White Grapes: Sav Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay


Atacama and Coquimbo are the northern most regions

Aconcagua DO: Cabernet and merlot do quite well here

The Central Valley: home to maipo valley – chiles most famous wine making region for cabernet



Red grapes: Malbec, Bonarda, Cab Sav, Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo

White Grapes: pedro gimenez, torrontes, chardonnay, chenin blanc




  • Comprises the wine producing provinces of mendoz, la rioja and san juan
  • Torrontes is the most cultivated grape followed by malbec



  • Broken up by North, East, South, West and Uco Valley – malbec is the most planted grape varietal followed by cab sav. 

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