Chile’s most northerly wine region, the Elqui Valley (EL-kee) is located 300 miles (500km) north of Santiago. Running from the Andes in the east to the coast in the west, the Elqui River cuts through this high, semi-desert landscape situated within the DO Coquimbo region of Chile. The climate conditions for winegrowing in this region are excellent, hot and dry, with very little rain (around 130mm of annual rainfall) and more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Integrated irrigation systems and nutrient rich, water storing heavy soils provide harvests of ripe and sweet Muscat grapes that are used in Pisco brandy production – the Elqui Valley is the only pisco producing area in Chile, known as the "zona pisquera". However, more than 90% of the valley's wine production is dedicated to red wine varietals, such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère.