Travel Guide to the Limari Valley Wine Region

The Limari wine-producing area is located 470 km north of Santiago, in the Coquimbo wine region. The area is primarily known for its production of Sauvignon and Chardonnay, as wells as Syrah and Pinot Noir. The combination of cooling breeze from the Pacific Ocean and a hot, semi-desertic climate, makes it possible to grow grapes that result in fresh wines with a distinct minerality. The Limari Valley is also considered an oasis of natural beauty and amazing, green landscapes. Thanks to its fertile soil and climatic balance, the Limari Valley is known of its delicious tropical fruits.

Find out about Wine Tasting & Tours in Limari to enjoy if you visit the region.

Follow our travel guide to the Limari Valley and discover more about:

Wines of Limari

Places to visit

Natural places around the Limari Valley

All You Need to Know About the Limari Valley Wine Region

History and Curiosities

The first vineyards were planted during the 16th century, and after years of anonymity, the Limari Valley production experienced a resurgence during the 1990s. Indeed, towards the end of the 20th century, the first grapes of Sauvignon and Chardonnay were planted, and they soon became the trademark wines of the Limari wine region.

The Limari Valley was awarded with the DO appellation by the Chilean Appellation System, meaning that the grapes grown in this geographical area are legally defined and protected.

Chardonnay is the most planted and most praised grape from the Limari wine region. It possesses a decisive minerality thanks to the moisture brought to the grapes by the Camanchaca fog and the limestone contained in the soil.

Climate and Soil of the Limari Valley

The cooling breeze of the Pacific Ocean doesn’t directly affect the dry and hot weather of the Limari wine region, but it influences the vineyards through the Camanchaca, a cooling fog that, every morning, enters the valley from the west and retreats as the sun. As said, the Limari Valley has a dry, desert-like climate and rainfalls are all but common in this area. Vine rows are mainly watered with a drip irrigation system.

The soil is very rich in mineral all around the Limari Valley wine region. This feature can be clearly tasted when drinking the region’s famous Chardonnay. The major consistent of the soil are clay, silt and chalk. 

Grape Varieties

Red: Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carménèe

White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat  

Style of Limari Valley’s Wines

The Limari wine region is best known for its Chardonnay, which scores high in minerality and has a full-bodied palate with fresh acidity. Limari’s Chardonnay is a bold, pretty dry, and soft wine that presents a pale yellowish color. The predominant aromas are those of citrus and tree fruits. In some cases, depending on the position of the vineyard, the wine can also have an oaky aftertaste.

Among the successful varieties grown in the Limari wine region, there is Chile’s signature grape Carménère. This dark-skinned grape has a late-ripening season, and it needs very high levels of warmth and sunshine to grow at its best. If it grows to its best, Carménère develops a strong plum aroma similar to that of Merlot and gently herbs notes similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. This happens because the DNA of the Carménère grape has traces of the DNA of both these wines.

Another good variety from the Limari wine region is Syrah. This wine has a cool, savoury style with a fruity-driven aroma, especially if it comes from the inland areas. Syrah from the Limari Valley has spicy and leather notes, and it leaves in the mouth an oak and blackcurrant aftertaste.

Pisco, Another Limari Excellence

Wine isn’t the only notable alcoholic beverage produced in the Limari Valley. In fact, a notable mention has to be made for Pisco, a colorless brandy made with distilled grape juice. The first piscos were produced with any kind of grape that was available at that moment, while today it is mainly made with Muscat grapes.

The motherhood of Pisco has been long debated between Chile and Perù, where this distilled is also produced in large quantities. However, both countries have developed legal appellations when it comes to the production of Pisco and the origin of the grapes it is made with.

Pisco, traditional Chilean spirit distiled from grapes

Read more about Wineries in Limari to visit.

Places to Visit in the Limari Valley

Ovalle – the Centre of Limari

Ovalle is the capital city of the Limari province, and it was officially founded in 1831 as a settlement. Ovalle is a very green city, full of luscious palm trees and parks. All around the city there are bare hills and the famous Limari Valley vineyards.

The main attraction in Ovalle is the Museum of Limari that is located in the old train station and is entirely dedicated to the history of the province.

La Serena – Stay Serene

La Serena is the second oldest city in Chile, after the capital Santiago, as it was founded in 1544. This city is a popular holiday destination, especially during summer when people travel here to enjoy the sun and the beach.

La Serena is a curious place because it has 29 churches, which is a huge number compared to the size of the city. The main one is the La Serena Cathedral located in the main square, Plaza de Armas. Surprisingly, the cathedral is pretty simple and less decorated compared to other smaller churches in other neighbours of the city.

If you visit La Serena and want to experience it as a real Chilean, be sure to take half a day to relax on the Playa el Faro. This is the most famous beach of the city and it is named after the lighthouse that lies in the middle of the playa. The lighthouse is no longer operating, and it is used as a viewing point.

Monumento Arqueológico Valle del Encanto – Do Aliens Exist?

The archaeological site of the Valle del Encanto is 18km west of the city of Ovalle and it is a must-see of the Coquimbo region. The art and the drawings on rocks date back from the pre-Colombian period, from the 3rd century b.C. to the 4th century A.D. The most intriguing characteristics of these petroglyphs and pictographs are the weird and peculiar dancing alien-like stick-figures. Intriguing, isn’t it?

La Serena Lighthouse, Chile

Another interesting form of rock art is the piedras tacitas, a series of big rocks full of holes. These are rocks used during funeral ceremonies and the holes were used to insert food and flowers for the dead person.

Discover Nature in the Limari Valley

Bosque Fray Jorge National Park – Get Lost in an Ancient Tropical Forest

The Bosque Fray Jorge National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve between the provinces of Limari and Coquimbo. The park was first discovered by a friar, Fray Jorge, that arrived at this location while looking for timber. He found it here and brought it back to La Serena to build the tower of the San Francisco church.

The reserve was entitled “National Park” in 1941. The park covers an area of 100 km2 that is bordered south by the Limari River. The great ecosystem and biodiversity of the park are due to the favourable climate and the presence of the camanchaca fog. The fog helps tropical plants and trees grow and survive in the hot climate of north Chile.

Embalse La Paloma

The La Paloma Lake is located 27km south of the city of Ovalle. La Paloma is an artificial lake built to provide irrigation to the dry and desert-like surrounding land. It is the largest reservoir in all South America.

Throughout the years, the Embalse La Paloma became a popular destination for locals and tourists to relax and do some water sports. The reservoir is surrounded by round hills and the vineyards of the Limari wine region are pretty close to it.

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Region Highlights

Surface: 1483
Soil: Clay, silt and chalk
Climate: Desert-like
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Map of Wineries in Limari Valley wine region

Discover the long wine tradition of Limari Valley and discover some of the best wineries in this region

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List of Wineries in Limari Valley wine region

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