Two Italian cousins from the Trentino region, businessman Aldo Olivier and winemaker Giorgio Flessati, are responsible for making Elqui the region it is today. Aldo invested in the northern valley in Chile in 1998 spotting a unique potential for wine, when everyone else was still just growing avocados and fruit.
Viña Falernia has been one of the landmark, and is still the biggest, winery in the valley. A sister side-project Mayu sits next door to Falernia winery, and both of them make a full range of wines from Elqui with many different varieties. Highlights include opulent Sauvignon Blanc and tropical Pedro Ximenez, and meaty Syrah, which work best in the semi-arid climate.
As well as visiting the wineries, try and visit their observatory in the vineyards to appreciate the beautiful starry skies in Elqui.