Elqui Valley is a wine region centered on Elqui River in northern Chile.The Elqui Valley wine region is located 400 km (250 mi) north of Santiago, at the southern end of the Atacama Desert in the Coquimbo region. It is known for producing table grapes and other fruits, as well as Pisco, Chile’s most popular liquor. But it is also notable for being the most commercially viable wine-producing region of northern Chile.
The region’s vineyards extend from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Andes Mountains in the east, rising to an altitude of 2,000 m.a.s.l. (6,500 feet). Wine production began in the Elqui Valley in the 1990s when Chilean wine producers began to look at potential viticulture sites outside the Chilean Central Valley. Since then, 286 ha (707 acres) of vines have been planted, mostly along the River Elqui valley, where grape growers have access to high-quality water for irrigation.
The region is characterized by a sunny, desert-like climate, less than 70 mm (2.8 in) of annual rainfall, dry rocky terrain, steep valleys and temperate hills cooled by strong winds from the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, producing excellent results for varietals like Syrah.