Few wine-producing regions around the world have quite the same combination of unique conditions as those are found in Chile’s Central Valley, the destination for most Chile wine tours.
Here, top quality, healthy vines are a product of Chile’s Mediterranean climate that sees cold, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. Mix this with large fluctuations between day and nighttime temperatures and a dry harvest season and you’ve got the recipe for Chile’s high caliber wine – a product that has been making its mark on the global stage for the past few decades.
And while wine tourism has historically been based in the Maipo Valley a short distance from Santiago, there is a growing trend in Chile wine tours to Colchagua. A valley a little further south, Colchagua allows visitors to get a real flavor of this country’s exceptional repertoire of wine. With its Ruta del Vino (Wine Route), it’s never been easier to organize a day of popping into a bunch of Colchagua’s award-winning vineyards.
Where is the Colchagua Valley and its Ruta del Vino?
Located around a two-hour drive from Santiago, the Colchagua Valley is the southern sub-division of the better-known Rapel Valley. Its Ruta del Vino is a suggested itinerary that connects the 40 or so vineyards in the region.
Although it’s unrealistic to try and visit them all, using the area’s main town, Santa Cruz, as a base, it is possible to hand-pick a few vineyards from an impressive selection of internationally-renowned winemakers.
Why visit Colchagua on Chile wine tours?
Colchagua has quickly developed a reputation for innovative practices; organic viticulture, hillside vineyards and the introduction of cool-climate grapes along the coast to the west prove how this is Chile’s most up-and-coming wine region.
But the Colchagua Valley can also be relied upon to produce the country’s trademark reds; delicious cabernet sauvignons, merlots and Chilean favorite, carménère are never in short supply here.
So where should you visit on a wine tour to the Colchagua Valley?
A family-owned vineyard, Casa Silva is the location of the oldest wine cellar in the entire valley and where the main lodge hosts not only an exceptional restaurant but unspoiled panoramic views of the Andes and the neat rows of vines that surround the property.
The best way to taste wine is with lunch on the sun-drenched terrace overlooking the family’s polo field, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll see one of the many national competitions that are held here throughout the year.
Unique is the main word you’ll use to describe Montes Apalta wine cellar. A tour through the vineyards is via an open cart that transports you across the Colchagua Valley’s first hillside vineyards. Afterward, a four-glass tasting of their top premium wines or lunch in their delectable Bistró Alfredo complete the tour.
Another family-owned vineyard, Viu Manent similarly offers an intriguing tour around its vineyards, this time in a vintage horse and carriage. Back at the main house, enjoy a lengthy wine tasting in the main courtyard.
For lunch, consider the Rayuela Wine & Grill restaurant, where modern Chilean fare, again with spectacular dining-enhancing views of their vineyards, is on the menu.
How to organize Chile wine tours from Santiago to the Colchagua Valley
Organizing a wine tour from Santiago to Colchagua is relatively straightforward. Tour companies in the capital can easily arrange visits and wine tastings with a variety of vineyards.
However, renting a car and staying in any one of the pleasant accommodations in Santa Cruz or in the wineries themselves is a good alternative, allowing you to visit the vineyards at your leisure.