XVI century

Wine History of Tarapacá

The region of Tarapacá has a wide vitiniculture history. In Pica and Matilla towns, located 125 km SE of Iquique, you can find a vine dating back to the end of the XVI century. The presence of Spanish Conqueror Diego de Almagro in 1536 is also documented in the area. This production supplied the nitrate company towns, mining companies and it also exported to Potosí in Alto Perú. It was obtained a production of 350,000 liters (92,000 gallons). In Matilla, we can name Medina Family, among others, owners of the Matilla Winery, which is a National Historical Monument, being the oldest winery preserved in Chile. In la Pampa del Tamarugal, Enrique Froelich, a German immigrant who obtained the medal of Caballero de la Orden al Mérito for his contribution to the agriculture in the desert became a very important contributor.

At that time, a wine called Oporto, a sweet wine with high alcoholic grades, was produced. This activity ended between 1937-1949, for diverse reasons, for instance the nitrate company towns closure, the vitiviniculture competition of the Central Valley of Chile, and the high taxes added and the water expropriation to use It in Iquique.