Dry-farmed Secano Interior: tradition and the winemaking industry
The dry-farmed secano interior is a zone of vineyards planted without irrigation. The only water is that which comes from the rain. It’s located in central Chile, with soils derived from granitic and clay materials that, due to the agricultural, climactic, and topographical characteristics, are well suited for grapevines.
The Secano Interior and the wine industry
The potential for wine here stands out because of the climactic conditions of the sector, with long, temperate summers without humidity, and little feasibility of late-season frosts in spring, or early frosts in fall. Additionally, it does not tend to rain during the vegetative growth stage, particularly in the flowering and ripening stages
Varieties planted in the Secano Interior
The principal varieties planted in this zone are called patrimonial varieties: País, Muscat of Alexandria, Carignan, and Cinsault. There are also some white varieties planted, such as Semillon and Chasselas Dorè (Corinto).
Characteristics of the wines from the Secano Interior
The absence of rain in the summer months, in addition to the presence of the four pronounced seasons in the year, mean healthy grapes with optimal ripening each harvest.
The wines produced from País grapes from this zone tend to have low to medium acidity, low color intensity, and very good concentration and fruit character.
Wines made from Muscat of Alexandria or Italia are known for their typical varietal aromas and flavors.
Agricultural work in the Secano Interior
The vines in this area are not irrigated, so the soil has to be prepared to absorb all the rainfall, and the methods of ploughing, harrowing and cross-crossing are applied. Fertilisation is sparse and is based on nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and boron.
Lessons learned from the Secano Interior for the wine industry
A vineyard without irrigation has a perfect hydric balance between the earth and the rain water. This characteristic, and those mentioned above, are why this place was chosen for the first plantings of País in the country, around 400 years ago, meaning that today the roots are very old, and the vineyards are a living patrimony in Chile.
The Secano Interior zone is a great example for the wine industry, in terms of creating vineyards with deep roots, and a capacity for managing and controlling the plantings in a more traditional manner with lower instances of insects or disease, all which means higher quality grapes that produce balanced wines with good acidity and terroir expression; in other words, wines with identity.