Surrounding Chile’s capital to the north, west and south are the many distinct valleys of the Wine Country. Easily accessible from Santiago on a single day’s trip, opportunities to imbibe more about the wine-growing process, while simply taking in the country’s wine culture and sampling its many unique flavors abound.
About a 3-hour bus ride south of Santiago lies the Colchagua Valley in Chile’s central region, one of the country’s best-known wine regions that is much esteemed for its full-bodied red wines. Explore the 13 wineries of the renowned Colchagua Wine Route, where you can tour the vineyards and cellars as well as sample the world-class red and white wines. The area also offers hotels— including the exclusive, 4-casita Lapostolle Residence, known for its premium Chilean wine, Clos Apalta; in addition to restaurants, shops, and trail rides. Aside from its wine, the Colchagua Valley is also rich in culture and traditions, home to the ‘huaso’ culture (Chilean cowboys) plus local criolla culture and traditions. Visit the beautiful, centuries-old colonial architecture of Lolol, which has been deemed a “Heritage Zone.” The major tourist city of Santa Cruz is only 25 miles east, its Museo de Colchagua housing one of Chile’s greatest cultural heritage collections.
A 2-hour drive south of Santiago to the mountainous Millahue Valley (or “Place of Gold” as the natives called it) is where you will find the prestigious winery and world-class lodge known as Viña Vik, an avant-garde retreat set on 11,000 acres of ideal wine-producing wilderness and surrounded by hills, a small lake, and the Andes Mountains. Rather humble in nature, with its ramshackle village houses and a single dirt road, Vik’s success has seen more sophisticated amenities to the area including hotels and wineries.
Dotted between the Pacific Coast and the Maipo Valley is a small and rather unique region known as the Rosario Valley (a subdivision of San Antonio Valley). Its vineyards only 2.5 miles from the sea, making it one of the most maritime in nature among the wine-growing regions, the varietals found here are a distinctive assortment of mineral-rich whites and spicy reds. Although the region has yet to be developed, with no current wine route, it boasts some of Chile’s best Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, being one among several recognized wine-producing areas with the official DO seal (Denominación de Origen). You can pay visit to the organic vineyards at Matetic Vineyards, situated less than 12.5 miles from the coast, which is known for its biodynamic wine-producing principles, and also features the acclaimed Equilibrio restaurant and an adjoining winery.