Floods in northern Chile


Maximiliano Morales of AndesWines.com reports on truly exceptional weather in the Coquimbo region of northern Chile. See also pictures below of the Carmenère harvest there that began, after the rains, on 16 May. 

Concern has recently been expressed about the long term drought in Limarí in northern Chile, but it recently received a year’s worth of rain in a single day. The Recoleta reservoir flooded dramatically and road connections were severely disrupted. 

Steffan Juulsgaard of Elqui Wines noted, ‘the rain started Wednesday at 7 pm and has not stopped. It continues to rain around 3-7 mm per hour until this Friday afternoon, a very high amount compared to a normal year. Speaking to people over 65, they had never seen such heavy rain in so little time at the same time.’

Elqui Wines still had 70% of their Carmenère grapes hanging on the vine and are continuing to harvest them now. Fortunately, the skin of the grapes is thick because of the dry summer. It continued to rain until last Saturday morning.

According to Patricio González, commercial director of Wilüf pisco, ‘in the valley of the Rapel river in Limarí Valley we have experienced heavy rains with a lot of wind. This has caused power cuts and disruption of cellphone signals.’

Jaime Camposano, partner in Waqar pisco reported that ‘so far 200 mm of water has fallen. There are no problems with either the workers' houses or the vineyards fortunately. The grape harvest ended several weeks ago so there are no problems from that point of view. So far, despite the excess water in our area, everything is in order and there is only one thing to celebrate: that we will have 10 seasons ahead with availability of water.’

Steffan Juulsgaard of Elqui Wines reports that they were able to start the Carmenere harvest on Tuesday 16 May but that some of the crop has been lost to rot.