How Chilewas formedas told by Luis Acosta Challapa.
“When Wiracocha [the mythical creator of Andean civilisation] created the world with the sound of his pututu [a large Andean horn made from the shell of a large aquatic mollusc], accompanied by his faithful companion Ponguito the Armadillo, he went about sowing love, goodness, affection and brotherhood.
Each time he hid riches all over the world parts of them were left over and stashing them in his shell, the armadillo moved them to the world’s end (Chile). There, he placed them between the Andes Mountains and the ocean, giving the land he formed a long, thin shape and blessed with a great variety of climates and landscapes.
This explains the great connection between the inhabitants of Chile and the rest of the world, as Chile was created with a small piece of every part of this amazing planet.”
Introduced by the Spaniards, fostered by the Basques and inspired by the French
Winemaking and European immigration in the O’Higgins Region and the Central Valley
The grape was first introduced to Chile from Peru by Spanish conquistadores and local legend has it that Pedro de Valdivia’s aide Francisco de Aguirre planted the first vine here in the Central Valley. The Spaniards also made the area of Rancagua a community vineyard before the city was founded in the 18th century, although production was limited as most wines were legally required to be imported from Spain and the exportation of Chilean wine to Spain itself was forbidden. As Chile was culturally and historically connected to Castilian Spain and administered by Andalucians, common grape stocks from the traditional Spanish vineyard varieties such as Muscatel, Torontel, Albillo and Mollar were grown. These grape varieties were the ancestors of the local País variety, which is among Chile’s most common today.
Shortly after Chile’s independence and the emergence of the Basque-Chilean nobility as its ruling class, this started to change. A new, definitive trend began when local Basque aristocrats Silvestre Ochagavía Echazarreta and Maximiano Errázuriz, inspired by their own visits to France, began importing and using French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc, Malbec, Sauvignon blanc and Semillón for their recently founded vineyards here in the Central Valley. Errázuriz also enlisted the services of a French oenologist to supervise production in accordance with the techniques of Bordeaux and by the late 18th century, viniculture in the region had been largely fostered by Basque landowners and heavily influenced by wine production in south-western France.