Chile's history in wine goes back to the 16th century. Silvester Ochagavia founded modern viniculture in 1850 with French vines. Climate and soil offer good conditions for viniculture.
Chile has extreme variations in climate hot deserts in the North and meager rainy fire-country in the South. Because of the cold air-streams vineyards are mostly further inland. Some vineyards have to be artificially irrigated. The sediments and gravel that are washed up result in the ground resembling that of Médoc.
Chile is split into three regions: North, Middle, and South. In the northern region, which is the warmest of the three, sweet wines and table wines are made from Muscat grapes. Red and well as white are produced. The wines resemble those from Bordeaux. The wines from the southern region are simple and good. The favorite vines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mal, Sém, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Production and consumption of wine is controlled by a strict control system. Chilean wine-law reminds of France's with its appellation systems. Export-wines have to have an alcohol content of at least 12% in white wines, and 11.5% in red wines.