First wine competition held in Valle del Itata to promote wine culture

VALLE DE ITATA – The first wine competition at Valle del Itata took place Friday, October 19. The activity is part of the yearly “Día de Campo,” or “Countryside Day,” organized by Indap-Ñuble, together with the Ránquil and Trehuaco municipalities. The contest is an opportunity for local wines to compete in front of national and international judges.

The south of Chile is known for its vast vineyards and fruitful countryside all around the world. It is no wonder that every year since 2013 Valle del Itata, a small hidden treasure in the South of Chile, has celebrated “Countryside Day” or “Día de Campo.”

Valle del Itata is located in Trehuaco, in the northeastern part of Bío Bío region, Ñuble province. Some of the most daring national wines come from here. Pipeño, for example, comes from the carafe technique, and has become an important national reference in specialty stores in cities like New York and Paris, according to Chile Travel. Valle de Itata is home to two vineyards: Viña Chillan and Viña Männle, both open to the public for enotourism.

Día de Campo

The objective of Día de Campo is to promote local wine growers to Chile’s business sector and stimulate further development of the wine industry. The event is filled with technical talks on viticulture and over two dozen wine industry expositors. Guests enjoy gastronomic services and patrimonial wine tasting mixed with cultural activities, folk music, and the biggest event of Día de Campo: the Wine Competition of Valle del Itata.

Tatiana Merino Coria, director of the Indap (agriculture ministry) in Ñuble, spoke about the finality behind this traditional vineyard activity: “We organized this wine contest, because we know that it represents a great winemaking showcase for all wineries of our region. Here they have the opportunity of competing against each other in a healthy manner as well as show their best products not only to Chile but to foreigners.”

This year around 700 people related to the agricultural field enjoyed being part of the wine-oriented event.

The Wine Route in Chile to Some of the World’s Best Wines

The Competition

This year was the first wine competition organized by the Agricultural Development Institute (Idap). The event evaluates and rewards wine samples from all over Valle del Itata. This year’s three judges were a locally-born wine expert, Héctor Riquelme, the executive director of Catad’or Wine Awards, Pablo Ugarte, and a distinguished french enologist, Camille Françoa. One of the organizers, also an enologist, Ignacio Pino, said “Each of them has the difficult task of choosing the winning wines of this recognized contest.”

Competition judge Françoa commented on the wines saying, “I traveled some time ago from France to Chile for personal reasons. I ended up falling in love with this country. I had no idea that in the south were such delicious wines made. It’s something that has surprised me a lot.”

These wines have been repositioning themselves in the market in the last century, although they have been around for over 150 years. The Valley puts together age and traditional harvesting methods to create a unique identity to this place for winemakers in the south of Chile.

There were four categories to the competition: the Best Moscatel de Alejandría Wine category, which rewards the best white wines made from this specific grape; the Best Cinsault Wine category, which is especially important because almost 700 of the 796 hectares of this region are devoted to this grape; the Best País Wine category, which alludes to one of Chile’s most planted and oldest variety of wine grapes; and, finally, the Best Innovative Wine category, which promotes Valle del Itata’s reputation for innovation.

The winners are:

Best Moscatel de Alejandría Wine

  1. Vinos Tres C 2018, from Leonera, Coelemu
  2. Vinos Santa Carla 2018, from Chudal, Portezuelo
  3. Herman Díaz 2018, from Guarilihue Alto, Coelemu

Best Cinsault Wine

  1. Nicolás Uribe 2018, from Los Castaños, Coelemu
  2. Vinos Tres C 2018, from Leonera, Coelemu
  3. Viña Santa Jimena 2018, from Guaro Alto, Florida

Best País Wine

  1. Cavas de Ninhue 2018, from Ninhue
  2. Viña Toquihua 2018, from San Carlos

Best Innovative Wine

  1. Santa Carla, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, from Chudal, Portezuelo
  2. Viña Don Goyo, Malbec 2018, from Uvas Blancas, Ránquil
  3. Juan Arriagada, País-Cinsault 2018, from Tauco, Trehuaco

New to Valle del Itata

If there is something that characterizes Valle del Itata it is its countryside culture, tradition, and the amiability of its people. Four new tourism wine routes have been created to bring visitors to Valle Itata, developing what the region of Ñuble is mostly known for: agriculture and tourism. One of the routes includes surfing, stand-up paddle, and yoga; another focuses on the culture of the valley, its harvest, and its handmade crafts. Also offered by the vineyard is a route through the nearby natural forest. And, of course, guided wine tasting and wine courses are also available.

Chile is known all around the world for its wine culture and development. One of it’s oldest vineyards lies at Valle Itata, making it a must-see when living in or visiting the country. Other parts of the country are also growing and constantly showing the world the talent and culture Chile develops around wine. Here you can read all about the Chilean Wine Route that expands from north to south

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