Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Chilean Pisco (7)
Production Regions of Chilean Pisco
The production area of Chilean pisco, known as the “pisco-producing zone,” was established by Decree with Force of Law 181 on May 15, 1931. This area covers the provinces of Atacama and Coquimbo, which correspond to the current regions of Atacama and Coquimbo.
In this region, known as the Norte Chico (Small North), the intermediate depression is replaced by transversal valleys that extend from the mountains to the sea, and they are irrigated by the rivers Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui, Limarí, and Choapa. With temperature contrasts and a warm and dry climate, this zone is ideal for cultivating the Moscatel grape, which is the main variety used in the production of Chilean pisco.
In 1985, there were 5,875 hectares dedicated to pisco grape cultivation in the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo, with the majority located in the Coquimbo Region (5,364 ha).
By the year 2004, this area nearly doubled, reaching 9,883 hectares (9,282 ha in the Coquimbo Region). According to the 2004 National Viticultural Census, the distribution of these hectares is as follows: 2,606 ha of Moscatel Rosada, 1,747 ha of Moscatel de Alejandría, 2,283 ha of Moscatel de Austria, 2,363 ha of Pedro Jiménez, 778 ha of Torontel, 62 ha of Moscatel Amarilla, 20 ha of Early White Moscatel, 1 ha of Albilla, and 20 ha of other varieties.
Until 2006, according to the Association of Pisco Producers AG, Chile produced 49 million liters of pisco and exported US$1.3 million to various countries such as the United States, Japan, Argentina, and some European countries. Chilean pisco exports have doubled in the last 6 years.
In July 2008, Chilean exports were surpassed by Peruvian pisco.
The two main producing and marketing companies of Chilean pisco are Cooperativa Agrícola Pisquera Elqui Limitada (CAPEL) and Compañía Pisquera de Chile.
Promotion and Support of Chilean Pisco
National Pisco Day
In Chile, May 15 is celebrated as “National Pisco Day.” The idea of establishing this holiday emerged in April 2008 in the National Pisco Board, composed of the Minister of Agriculture, the Intendant of the Coquimbo Region, and representatives of the Pisco Producers Association.
This celebration was formalized through a protocol act of establishment signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Marigen Hornkohl, the Intendant Ricardo Cifuentes, and the president of the Pisco Producers Association, Pelayo Alonso, during a gathering held in Pisco Elqui. The event includes various activities related to the sector in the town of Pisco Elqui, as well as in the city of La Serena, the capital of the main pisco-producing region, and its surroundings.
Previously, in 2003, pisco producers nationwide established “National Piscola Day,” to be celebrated on February 8th each year. Although this date does not have official recognition, various activities related to both pisco itself and the piscola are carried out, especially parties in nightclubs, pubs, and other establishments in the industry, where promotions to purchase the drink at a lower price are often held.