Elki

The Elqui Valley is a coastal desert and Chile's northernmost wine producing region. In Quechua, the language of the Incan Empire, Elqui or 'Elki' means 'narrow valley'. The Elqui Valley is oriented east-west and there are two very important conditions that influence the character of the wines: the altitude and the temperature. The altitude of the vineyards range between 350 and 2,000 meters above sea level and temperatures are very different in the various sectors of the valley. There is a very cold area close to the ocean (between I5 and 25 km) and a warmer, drier area close to the Andes where the altitude is between 550 and 2,000 meters. This diversity of climates allows for the production of a wide range of varieties and brings great complexity to the wines. The main grape varieties are: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pedro Ximenez, Syrah, and Carmenere. Plantings of Pinot Noir and Riesling have been added recently. Soils are very stony with excellent drainage.

Elki wines are Estate grown, produced, and bottled at Viña Mayu in the Elqui Valley. Viña Mayu was established in 2005 as an independent part of Viña Falernia, the first Elqui valley fine wine producer, founded by Aldo Olivier Gramola in 1997. Aldo's family arrived in the Elqui Valley in 1951 from Italy and began growing table grapes and grapes for the production of Pisco (the national Chilean spirit) in 1975. Aldo's eldest son, Mauro, started working in the family vineyards for table grape production when he was very young; later he was involved in producing Pisco; and finally in 2005 he decided to start his own wine business, Vina Mayu, dedicated to producing only premium wines from the Elqui Valley.

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