When we look at the trophy cabinet of winery Santa Rita, it literally bulges out. In their 140 years of existence they have received countless prizes, medals, awards and mentions. For example, in 2016 they were voted 'Winery of The Year' by the Chilean press. The icing on the cake came in 2022 when they were listed for the eleventh time in the legendary list 'The World's Most Admired Wine Brands'. Praise enough for this greatness of the Chilean vineyards.
Viña Santa Rita was founded in 1880 by Don Domingo Fernández Concha, a prominent businessman and public figure of the time. Don Domingo brought the best French grape varieties to the rich soils of the Maipo Valley, along with specialized equipment and a team of top winemakers from France. This brought techniques hitherto unknown in Chile, changed the way wines were made in the country and produced spectacular results. Chilean wines are still considered to belong to the New World, although viticulture here is centuries old.
Currently, Santa Rita Estates vineyards are located in the best and most diverse terroirs in Chile. The winery has more than 3,000 hectares planted in the prestigious valleys of Limarí (131 hectares), Casablanca (314 hectares), Leyda (90 hectares), Maipo (796 hectares), Colchagua (1,043 hectares), Curicó (458 hectares) and Maule (131 acres). This great geographical diversity allows the winemakers to produce a wide range of high quality wines, characterized by their individual terroir. In addition, the climatic conditions for viticulture are ideal: mild winters, rainfall in spring and warm dry summers. Due to its location close to the sea, the nights are very cool. The flagship of Santa Rita is undoubtedly the Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Valle de Maipo Casa Real Reserva Especial - this wine is nowadays only distributed via Place Du Bordeaux to a handful of selected wine merchants.
From the Limari valley, Santa Rita mainly comes from Chardonnay and Syrah grapes. The climate is particularly strongly influenced by the proximity of the Pacific Ocean (28 km) and the low hills of the Coastal Mountain Range. The fog that runs along the coast here in the morning disappears around noon. After this, the temperature in the valley rises, although it is always tempered by a fresh sea breeze. The proximity to the ocean can also be seen in the relatively high afternoon temperatures, which can reach 20°C in January, the warmest month of the year. The soil consists of alluvial deposits where the roots of the grape vines first encounter a layer of clay and then a layer of clay loam with stones. Between these two layers lies a calcium carbonate deposit. This makes the soil good for producing white wines with intense aromas and red wines with intense color and pleasant acidity.
The Casablanca valley is located in the region of Valparaiso where the vineyards are 80 km from Santiago and 26 km from the Pacific Ocean. There is a Mediterranean climate with day and night temperatures fluctuating around 20ºC. The soil is alluvial, with a fine and sandy texture. Because of this, it has a low capacity to retain moisture, leading to a low yield and a high concentration in the grape. (Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir)
Leyda valley is a sub-region of the San Antonio Valley where Santa Rita mainly sources Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes. Here too, the sea breeze and the morning fog influence the Mediterranean climate in the valley, which is a bit milder here due to the lower temperatures. Just like the Casablanca valley, the soil has a fine sandy clay structure that allows moisture to pass through. As a result, the yield of the vineyard is low and the concentration in the grape is high. Which in turn results in tasteful wines.
Maipo valley is located close to the capital of Chile, Santiago. Several red Santa Rita grape varieties grow here, such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petite sirah. The grapes grow in a semi-Mediterranean climate and are in a stony soil.
Located south in the Colchagua Valley, here Santa Rita has 1071 hectares of vineyards, the coastal mountains play a major role in the ripening process. They ensure that the sea breeze enters the valley, causing the afternoon temperature to drop. This is especially important during the ripening period when the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Syrah and Carmenère develops its acidity. In the middle of the Colchagua Valley is the Apalta valley, the premium wine production region of Santa Rita. The main climate factor in Apalta is the thermal oscillation which can exceed 20ºC. There is almost no frost in this region, and the vineyards face south with less exposure and denser vegetation.
Curico Valley is located 200 km south of Santiago. Here Santa Rita has 458 hectares of vineyards. It is one of the most famous wine regions in Chile where a great diversity of wines comes from. It is characterized by well-drained soil and a high temperature variation between day and night. Several Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines from Santa Rita come from this region.
Rapel Valley, 181 km south of Santiago and 45 km from the coast, is considered one of the most extensive valleys in central Chile and produces a great diversity of grapes. It has a very dry and warm climate, with hot summers and rainy winters (annual precipitation of 595 mm). During the summer, the wind cools the vineyards considerably, causing a high diurnal temperature variation. This effect is especially important during the ripening period. The soil is of volcanic origin and contains ice age granite in combination with clay, loam and sand soils at different depths. It gives the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Carménère wines from Santa Rita extra depth.