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Chilean wine production dates back to the 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors brought vines with them while colonizing the region. French vines were introduced to the region three centuries later. Because the country was an ocean away from the phylloxera plague that destroyed vines in France and the rest of Europe, the country remains one of the few places in the world where French varietals are grown on their own rootstock; nearly everywhere else they are grafted onto disease-resistant rootstock from another type of vine.
Over the past 30 years, Chilean wine production has taken off and the country is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world. Most of its production comes from an 800 mile stretch of land near the geographical center of this long, north-to-south country positioned between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east. Valle Central, Chile's most famous growing region, is located in the heart of that 800 mile stretch.
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