For Brazilians, it's cachaça. For Puerto Ricans, it's rum.
And for Chileans, the specialty is wine, and that's exactly what ProChile aimed to highlight in Miami on Tuesday night at their annual wine tasting event.
Nearly 20 tables lined the Conrad Hotel's third floor conference room with wineries representing most of Chile's regions. Producers, wine enthusiasts and sommeliers alike gathered to learn about the array of exotic distinctions Chile has to offer in the wine industry.
Last year, Miami imported $34.6 million in Chilean wine alone.
"They’re trying to open Miami as a new market because in the last four or five years, Miami has changed a lot as a market for wine ," said Mondaca.
Chile's unique geographical foundation makes it very well suited for the wine industry.
The landscape isolates the land in a way that keeps the grapes safe from pests and disease. The Pacific coast’s granitic soil allows easy growth for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir while the central valley’s warm and deep soil is ideal for Merlots and Cabernets. Meanwhile, the Andes provides structure and ageability for wines like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Essentially, you can get it all — the plush flavors, the fruity citrus, the tart, the big, rich volume—all from a county whose total square area is less than 300,000 miles.
"The idea here is to talk about the diversity of Chile in the context of coast, entrecordiera, and Andes mountains," explained Master Sommelier Fred Dex, who was one of two leading the educational seminar. "ProChile is creating an east to west conversation. Chile is a very long and skinny country which most people know but many people don’t know about climatic and soil diversity from east to west and how that imparts flavor profiles."
Globally, Chile is already recognized as a dominant leader in the wine industry. ProChile, however, wants to take that superiority to the next level.
"The wines of Chile are the main ambassador," says Fernanda Mondaca, Deputy Director of the Trade Commission of Chile, "But they also have to be recognized as high quality wines. To get that we have to learn and teach about the main wines of Chile."