May 19, 2022 #ChileGlobal

Chile's tallest wine and the first decade of astronomy at ALMA were part of the new press trip to the Antofagasta region

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A group of international journalists came to the driest desert in the world, in the Antofagasta region, to learn about the process of making the highest wine in Chile, produced by native peoples, and to hear about the challenges and major findings of the ALMA observatory in its first decade of operation, from its director.

40 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama, in northern Chile, a unique wine is produced in the world: the highest wine in the country, made by native peoples gathered in the Lickanantay peasant cooperative, in Toconao, Antofagasta region. A group of international journalists arrived there with Fundación Imagen de Chile to meet some of the small Atacameño agricultural producers such as Cecilia Cruz, Héctor Espíndola and Samuel Varas, who cultivate vines between 2,400 and 3,600 meters above sea level, in the driest desert in the world. All this, to produce Ayllu wines, which since 2017 have been delighting consumers in different cities of the country and which they soon hope to be able to export.

Last year, two Ayllú wines were awarded gold medals at the World Extreme Wine Competition 2021 held annually in Valle d'Aosta, Italy. The award-winning wines were Ayllu Moscatel Dulce 2020 and Ayllu Naranja 2020 (also made from Muscat grapes). During the press trip, Ayllu winery's winemaker, Fabián Muñoz, told what makes these wines so special, for their color, body and flavor.

The driest desert in the world is also home to the clearest skies on the planet. That is why, very close to Toconao where these wines are produced, the most advanced discoveries in astronomy are also generated.

Located at 5,000 meters above sea level, on the Chajnantor plain (take-off place in the Atacameño Kunza language), the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory is the world's largest radio telescope and the largest instrument ever built for astronomy. ALMA captures light invisible to the eye, emitted by the Universe in long waves, a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that allows us to probe what is not captured by optical telescopes and is fundamental to understanding how stars and planets are formed.

There, the international press was able to talk with ALMA Director Sean Dougherty, who explained the latest advances, such as the first photograph of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known only a few days ago, and the challenges facing the observatory now that it has been in operation for a decade.



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