Located along the southwestern coast of South America, Chile has close to ideal conditions for growing wine grapes. Look to the west and it is all ocean (the Pacific). Look to the east, it is all mountains (the Andes Range). Head north and you hit the desert (Atacama). Head south and you’ll run into the ice of Antarctica. Talk about isolation. But it has worked in Chile’s favor. Although the Spanish were amongst the first to settle in Chile and begin growing grapes, the French had the most influence on the wine-making history. Many of the French winemakers traveled to South America in the mid 1800’s when the vineyards of Europe were being destroyed by phylloxera. Along with them came many of the French grapes (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot). In the last decade, Chile has earned a reputation of being the “Bordeaux of South America”!