The Elqui Valley Denomination of Origin (DO) is defined by the
Chilean Appellation system, the legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown. The valley is located 530 km (330 mi) north of Santiago, at the southern end of the Atacama Desert in the Coquimbo region. It is known for producing table grapes and other fruits, as well as Pisco, Chile’s most popular liquor. But it is also notable for being the most commercially viable wine-producing region of northern Chile. The region’s vineyards extend from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Andes Mountainsin the east, rising to an altitude of 2,000 m.a.s.l. (6,500 feet). Wine production began in the Elqui Valley in the 1990s when Chilean wine producers began to look at potential viticulture sites outside the Chilean Central Valley. Since then, 286 ha (707 acres) of vines have been planted, mostly along the River Elqui valley, where grape growers have access to high-quality water for irrigation.