Destinations

Where are the Best Wine Tasting Tours in Chile?

The best places for wine tasting in Chile...

Like an elongated Venn diagram, Chile’s two climatic extremes – sun-baked and bone-dry in the north and cooler and wetter in the south – overlap to produce grape-growing conditions that have put Chile firmly on the New World wine map. What’s more, many of the main wineries are all within a one-to-two hour drive of Santiago de Chile, the capital, and all offer tours of their vineyards and cellars; some also provide accommodation and food to go with the award-winning wines. 

Visit in March and you’ll see and smell the harvest and can experience the pressing process in full squeeze.

South of Santiago

One of three wine regions lying entirely to the south of the capital, Central Valley is itself subdivided into four main valleys, which – with their blotted boundaries – look like wine stains on the map. The northernmost of these four valleys is Maipo, where the verdant vines contrast strikingly with the snow-topped cordillera backdrop. As Chile’s most traditional appellation, Maipo Valley harbours both some of the oldest vines in the country and its most historic wineries. Chief among these is Concha y Toro, located in Pirque just an hour from Santiago. Founded in 1883, the winery offers visitors the chance to look round its French-inspired buildings, cellars and vineyards – as well as providing the obligatory range of tasting opportunities at its wine bar. Although Concha y Toro does also produce Chardonnay, it’s best-known for its fruity reds. The Casillero Del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon is a supermarket staple in the UK, but it’s the ‘ultra-premium’ Don Melchor that scores big with the international wine critics.

Further south of Maipo Valley and spilling west from the foothills of the Andes is Colchagua Valley. This, the southernmost portion of the Rapel Valley wine region, is warmed by a Mediterranean climate and irrigated by the Tinguiririca River. These elements combine to produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Malbec grapes good enough to get tasters’ heads nodding in appreciation on the world stage. Cono Sur is one of the wineries based in Colchagua Valley, and since 1999 has been nurturing some of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in Chile. 

This relatively young company actually has a presence in ten of Chile’s wine valleys, including in the Riesling-producing South region some 300 miles from Santiago.

North of Santiago

Two wine regions are located entirely to the north of Santiago – the desert-menaced Atacama and Coquimbo – while one, Aconcagua, spreads from north and east of the capital round to the southwest. The vine-neatened slopes of this third region are cooled by the breezes of the Pacific, enabling wineries in its Casablanca, San Antonio and Aconcagua valleys to produce red wines such as Syrah and whites such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Aconcagua Valley is located approximately 55 miles north of Santiago and enjoys a combination of warm days with cooler nights. Here, in the immense shadow cast by Aconcagua – the highest mountain in the Americas – Viña Errázuriz was founded by Don Maximiano in 1870. Five generations later, Eduardo Chadwick is now the man in charge, and the company continues to garner national and international attention – in 2013 it scooped the top gong at the Wines of Chile Awards for its Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve. The winery’s vineyards, many of which are gathered in a lazy loop of the Aconcagua river, are still undoubtedly producing the goods. 

The tour provides an expert introduction to these precious vines, and visitors can also opt to enjoy a meal with their wine-tasting experience.

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