Chilean winemaker and entrepreneur Aurelio Montes has planted the first vineyard on the Chiloé group of islands in the south of the country.

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Montes planted two hectares of vines this month on the small isle of Mechuque, on the eastern side of the Chiloé Archipelago, which lies more than 600 miles south of Santiago.

It is one of the world’s southernmost plantings at a latitude of 42.6° S and a landmark experiment for island viticulture in Chile.

Despite its southerly location, Aurelio Montes – who frequently sails and flies in the region – believes the warm ocean currents on the eastern side of the archipelago will protect it from frost and the extreme temperatures that are common elsewhere at this latitude.

‘I explored the Chiloé Archipelago dozens of times — by air, by sea, and by land, so it gave me a detailed knowledge of its many islands,’ Montes told Decanter.com.

‘Chiloé is not only a place of myth and legend, it has major climatic benefits.’

Montes added that he hired experts from the University of Chile to conduct a temperature and precipitation study in Chiloé and they selected the best site according to its climatic and soil conditions.

‘This is a location naturally protected from the maritime influence and cold Humboldt Current, thanks to its location in a horseshoe-shaped bay,’ said Montes.

The experimental vineyard of two hectares is planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Albariño with a mind to make both sparkling and still wine.

If the experiment goes well, the first commercial harvest is expected in 2021 or 2020.


See also: Producers to watch in Chile’s Colchagua region

Published online in May this year for Premium members