Elqui Valley is one of the best and more exciting Chilean Valleys, offers a mosaic of terroirs and soil types!
The fact that there is no risk of phylloxera infestation means that the vines don´t need to be grafted onto American rootstocks, as is necessary in other parts of the world. Shoots can simply be inserted directly into the soil. The trellising system is Guyot or double Guyot, whereby the two lateral shoots are pruned to leave 6 to 8 buds each. Vineyards planted at a distance of one meter, with two meters between rows, giving a density of 5000 vines per hectare. Viña Falernia comprises of around 320 hectares of vines (800 acres), plus 100 hectares (250 acres) with long term contracts.
Vineyards are located in several sites of the Elqui Valley, with very different climate conditions.
The first site, Titon vineyard, lies at an altitude of 350 m (1070 ft.), 18 km (11 miles) away from the Pacific Ocean without the presence of the Coastal Mountain Range in between, as a result receiving a strong impact from the Ocean influencing the climate producing morning fog and a strong cool breeze. Day temperature there reaches a maximum of 24-25°C (74°F) during the summer and 9-10°C (48-50°F) at night; it is foggy very often until 10:00 – 11:00 in the morning. These are the perfect conditions for cultivating Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Pedro Ximenez and Torontel. The actual size is 125 ha (312 acres) under vines.
The second site is just around the winery at the end of Puclaro Lake – an artifitial dam built by the government in 2003 for supporting the irrigation in the valley and guaranteeing water supply for the cities of Coquimbo and La Serena. Altitude is 515 m (1570 feet). Climate conditions are very different; it is drier than Titon, warmer and with fiewer foggy mornings (due to the lake that changed the microclimate). This site is amazing for grapes such as Syrah, Sangiovese, Pedro Ximenez, Torontel and Viognier.
The third site is close to Vicuña, where there is a young planting called “Pedregal,” 30° South with temperatures between 21°C to 7°C (70-45°F) at 560 m (1680 ft.). 40 ha (100 acres) planted on the old bed of the Elqui River with a very stony soil. French Varietals such as Syrah, Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown in ideal conditions.
This vineyard is in transition to be organically certified by IMO Switzerland; This certification will guarantee that Falernia complies with the world’s strictest rules for the organic wine production.
The fourth site is an old vineyard called “Huanta” or “Guanta” that is a spectacular rocky valley at an altitude between 1700 to 2070 m (5185-6320 ft.); one of the highest vineyards in the world. Climate is very dry with a great gap between day and night temperatures. Pedro Ximenez, Syrah, and Pinot Noir are the grapes of this area. These geographical features have kept at bay downy mildew mold as well as phylloxera, and aphid which devastated most of the world’s vineyards a century ago.
The fact that pests and diseases mentioned above are kept at bay makes the use of chemical sprays such as pesticides and insecticides to protect the vines and the grapes largely unnecessary.