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Wine grapes first arrived in Chile during the 1500’s with the Spanish missionaries. By mid-1800’s wine production was flourishing and French vitis vinifera varietals were introduced. When Phylloxera devastated European wine trade, Chile became the first New World country to export wines to Europe. State protectionism halted the growth of wine industry and it wasn’t until the late 1970’s Chile re-opened its doors to international trade. In the early 1980’s Miguel Torres and others chose Chile to establish his New World winery, bringing investment and modern winemaking techniques. During this period Chile’s signature grape “Carménère” appeared, the world was aware that Chile’s “Merlot” was unique but it wasn’t until 1994 that a name was attached to it. Despite nearly 500 years of winemaking heritage, Chile’s wine industry is fresh young and boldly evolving to meet the needs of today’s demanding world markets.