Casablanca is a comuna and town in Chile, located in Valparaiso Region, halfway between the national capital, Santiago, and the port towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Located in a small valley between two spurs of the Chilean Coast Range, Casablanca's main claim to fame is as a center of the Chilean wine industry.

If you have been to the Napa Valley, or perhaps somewhere else in central California, Casablanca would physically be a very familiar environment. The surrounding hills are covered with chapparal, while almost every available square foot of the valley is covered with thick vineyards. Agricultural warehouses and farm machinery companies line the side of the freeway, with opulent buildings built for wine tourism lie further back, on the hills. The largest organic vineyard in the world, Emiliana, is located in Casablanca.

I had actually been in Chile for three years, and had passed through Casablanca many times on the freeway to and from Valparaiso, when I decided to actually got there. It took me a while to find a bus actually to Casablanca, instead of merely passing through on the freeway. And when I got to Casablanca, I found that despite the glamour of the wine industry, the town itself was a typical small Chilean town, a little rainier and friendlier than being in Santiago. Also, curiously, I found an open, undrinken tallboy of Cerveza Cristal, a watery lager popular in Chile, sitting underneath a tree. A perfect Chilean moment: surrounded by some of the world's greatest wine growing regions, people would rather just drink cheap beer.

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