Elqui Valley is a wine region centered on Elqui River in northern Chile.
The Elqui Valley wine region 400 km (250 mi) north of Santiago lies 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 brandy, 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, and rise to an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level (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. 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