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The Association of Sommeliers of Chile is pleased to welcome the world of sommellerie to Concepción, a city located in the Bio Bio region. This region now getting international recognition for its vibrant wines produces styles of wine in contrast to the bold reds of Chile’s Central Valley and offers a fresh perspective on the Chilean wine industry. A fitting selection to host a contest welcoming a number of new candidates from countries with both long and relatively short histories of sommellerie.

ASI Best Sommelier of the Americas 2022

CONCEPCIÓN, CHILE

Welcome to Chile, a country embraced by the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean, the majestic peaks of the Andes Mountains, and the solitude and barren nature of the Atacama Desert in the north and glacier fields in the far south. These four natural borders have made Chile a kind of island in South America and protected it from the scourges of many plagues and diseases, including the vine killing phylloxera.

Concepción, the capital of Chile’s Bio Bio region, sitting some 500 kilometers south of Santiago is an important port city and acts as a gateway to Chile’s southern frontier and the ancestral lands of the Mapuche. The city, which sits on the northern banks of Rio BioBio, a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean, was first settled by Spaniards in 1550. While a military outpost in its early life this vibrant city is now known for its universities which contributes to Concepción’s vibrant music and nightlife scene. While its urban core is a hotbed of musical acts, nature is never far away, with beautiful lakes and mountains contained in the nearby national parks which are only a short drive from the city.

Concepción is also near some of Chile’s most exciting wine regions including the Bio Bio, Itata and the Malleco Valleys.  These wine regions have only in the last few decades come to world’s attention and are ushering in a new vision of Chilean wine. Known for aromatic varietals such as Riesling, Viognier and Gewurztraminer and fresh reds, these regions wine offerings represent a refreshing counterpoint to the rich reds of the Central Valley.

INTRODUCING
THE ASSOCIATION OF SOMMELIERS OF CHILE (ASCL)

The Association of Sommeliers of Chile has been existence for more than two decades, and for more than 15 years has been the host of the School of Sommeliers of Chile, a non-profit training organization that develops and hosts professional courses for the wine industry. More than 100 people have graduated as professional sommeliers through their certification program. It is with great privilege the association welcomes the best sommeliers of the Americas to enjoy the finest of Chilean hospitality.

Chile’s Wine Industry: Past, Present and Future

The Chilean wine industry’s path forward began almost as soon as the Spanish landed on its shores, but it was the economic boom of the 19th century that propelled the industry to new heights. The new rich of Chile, sought to replicate the great wines of France, in the unique terroir afforded by this elongated country, buttressed against the Pacific in the west and the Andes in the east.

In the early and mid-19th century vine cuttings from France were planted in the welcoming soils of Chile. Thanks to the natural protection afforded by the Atacama Desert in the north and Andes along its eastern boundary, Chile has never felt the scourge of phylloxera, a disease that would decimate French vineyard only decades later. The legacy of these plantings remains to this day and contribute to the unique personality of Chilean wines.

While historically, Chile is known for the bold reds made from grapes grown in the valleys south of Santiago, over the last 4 decades a new vision of Chilean wine has emerged. Led originally by outsiders such as Miguel Torres from Spain who ushered in a new era of modern winemaking, Chilean winemakers have since also brought the innovation of place to the Chilean wine industry. With exciting projects in the north, in its cool coastal corners, and south of Santiago in places such as Bio Bio and even further south a new vision of Chilean wine has emerged.

This new vision embraces a rich tapestry of styles, people and places. It’s time to rediscover Chilean wine.

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