Though most of the world has only recently discovered Chilean wine, wine production in the country dates back to the 16th century, when Spanish conquistadors planted grapevines from France's Bordeaux region in Chile's central valley. For centuries, these vineyards sold wine only to locals. Outsiders largely ignored Chilean wine, and many associated it with poor quality and bad production techniques.
Toward the end of the 20th century, visitors to Chile began to recognize the natural geographical advantages enjoyed by the country's vineyards. This attention, combined with an increasingly stable government and society within Chile, spurred large-scale investment in Chile's wine industry. In just a few short years, Chile had become the world's 10th largest wine exporter, with annual sales of $1.3 billion, and as of March 2011, Chile is the 4th biggest exporter of wine to the United States.
Keep reading to learn about Chile's three main winemaking regions.