In the mid-16th century, while Francisco Pizarro was subduing Peru, the Spanish knight Pedro de Valdivia and 150 followers entered Chile from the north. Along the way they founded cities and planted grapes and wheat.
In the northern valleys Chileans’ favorite liquor was born, a brandy-like drink with unique characteristics: Pisco.
Unlike other liquors, it comes from grapes, rather than grains. And only specific varietals of grapes, found exclusively in northern Chile in an area known as the Pisco Region.
Of all the valleys in the Pisco region, one, the Elqui Valley, stands out worldwide for its physical and human geography, which includes writers such as the poet Gabriela Mistral, Nobel prizewinner for literature in 1945.
Purity is the best way to describe the Elqui Valley. At night, under the clearest skies in South America, and perhaps the world, scientists from around the globe seek clues to the origin of the universe. This crowded night sky, the heat of the sun falling on hills and grapevines during the day, and the tenacity with which the clear waters of the Elqui River push their way along the valley, fertilizing everything along the way, have permitted the growth of cities and towns whose people live in direct contact with nature.
The grapes ripen in a dry, hot environment, with less than 220 mm of annual rainfall. The interior of the Elqui enjoys unique weather conditions not found elsewhere in the country or the continent.
CHILE’S LAWS PROVIDE evidence of the evolution of pisco distillery through history, starting with a series of statutes, regulations, decrees and edicts from the 19th century up to the first Alcoholic Beverages Law passed in 1902. This law, modified in 1916, defines natural piscos as «genuinely pure, produced directly from a special with no aromatic additives nor other substances, bottled directly by the distiller. On 16 May 1931, Decree 181 awarded the name pisco for all those brandies produced in what are now the Third (Atacama) and Fourth (Coquimbo) Regions.
This long and narrow strip of land is a perfect example of beauty and the power of nature. A small country that combines the most diverse weathers and landscapes, all breathtaking contrasts starting from the desert of Atacama in the northern side of the country until the chilly glaciers of the Patagonia.
Along its mad geography, we found 4,000 km of Pacific Ocean rim that accompanies the whole country, full of sunny beaches where to practice water sports and enjoy a great variety of seafood. On one border, there is the great Cordillera de los Andes visible wherever you go, offering awesome ski resorts, crossed by mountains, rivers and waterfalls.
In the center of the country, fertile agricultural valleys run from the Andes to the sea, sheltered by a soft mediterranean weather, where the best wines and fruits blend with ancient traditions of the chilean countryside.
Santiago, the capital, is a modern metropolis located 100 Kms. from the Pacific Ocean and 42 Km. from the Andes. It is the center of the financial activities of the country which exhibits one of the most dynamic economies of the region.
Down to the south, there are fertile woods, fiords, lakes and rivers which end at an amazing Patagonia where the Cordillera de los Andes perishes to be reborn in the Antarctica.
Juan Fernandez, Isla de Pascua (Eastern Island) and Chiloe contribute with its beautiful sceneries and legends to our rich national identity.
17,000,000 habitants resulting from the merge of different ethnic groups live in the country. Native populations mixed with immigrants coming from Center and Western Europe, found in Chile a new destiny. This diversity profiled a welcoming nation, well educated, with free customs and believes. Our country has brought two literature Nobel prizes, Neruda and Mistral, and many talented artists, musicians, Matta, Bravo, Arrau, Isabel Allende, the Hollywood actress Leonor Varela, etc.
Despite having one of the most important European originated communities in South America, the native traditions persist in the Andean surroundings and the southern plains.
The integrity as individuals and as a nation has been a constant value that today places us among the countries with one of the lowest corruption levels of the World. We are a safe country, open to foreigners from everywhere. We think of us as the door from the Pacific to the rest of the world and an obliged step for the products to the western markets. Nowadays we keep covenants of economic integration with the European Community, with the Mercosur countries, with APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), with the US, with Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, Australia and we are in the process of extending this integration to other asian countries.
This way, this unique geography, as delivering beautiful and diverse landscapes, offers the best gifts from the land and the sea : wines, fruits and great quality fishing, supplying the gastronomy with outstanding raw materials, which have made of Chile a full and a exciting experience.