Overall, quality and diversity were hitting new peaks at the same time, and Chile's modestly priced wines were enjoying newfound attention in an American market refocused on value.
But it all came to a halt. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck off the Pacific Coast about 70 miles north of Concepción caused billions of dollars in damage to Chile's infrastructure and displaced millions of people in a country that totals only about 17 million inhabitants. Early reports put the death toll at nearly 1,000.
For the full article, check out the new issue of Wine Spectator, on newsstands April 27, 2010.
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