I know many people come to the region to visit the famous wineries in Mendoza, Argentina, but Chile also has some wonderful wine regions near Santiago. Many tourists heading south to Patagonia will spend a few days in Santiago, and you can easily make the most of your time with a visit to some wonderful wineries. If you have a car or driver, it makes it even easier to visit some of the best wineries near Santiago, Chile. Check out these 4 wineries in three different regions.
First things first, Chile has several wine regions within easy driving to Santiago:
1. Aconcagua Valley
2. Casablanca Valley
3. Maipo Valley
4. Central Valley Region
Technically, the Casablanca Valley is included in the Aconcagua wine region, but it’s distinguished by the locals, so I have separated them here. Many local tours will group vineyards in the Casablanca Valley with a day trip to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. The wineries north of Santiago in the Aconcagua Valley are often grouped with a day trip to the Inca Lagoon. The Maipo Valley wine region is usually distinct (just south of Santiago) and tours are usually arranged just for wine tastings.
Here are reviews of the four wineries around Santiago I visited after careful research.
Concha y Toro – Having started in 1883, today Concha y Toro is one of the largest producers of wine in the world. It is arguably on almost every winery tour list out there. They export to 140 countries and received a perfect 100 score on their Don Melchor 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, ranking it as one of the best in the world. As such, I found it an obligatory visit. How can you go to Chile and not visit the biggest winery? However, IMO, I was disappointed. The regular tour is about an hour, including 3 wine tastings, a visit to the famed Diablo cellar, but mostly a grounds tour (not in the vineyard). They offer regular English and Spanish tours, but reservations are strongly recommended. I was expected a bit more of a production, and even more insight into their process. If you’ve never visited a winery before, it will be delightful, but if you have a little background in wine tasting, be prepared to be a little underwhelmed. Regardless, I think it’s a winery spot worth mentioning. If you don’t have a car or amble time, then this one is a good half day with public transportation from Santiago. If you don’t want to fool with transportation, you can book this tour which includes the tasting and hotel transfer.
Price Point: tours starting at 22,000 CLP per person
Wine Taste: 4 out of 5 stars
(mostly because we tasted the lower quality labels, which are usually cheaper, but easy sipping wines)
Distribution: Export to 140 countries
Tour Quality: 3 out of 5 stars
(not a lot of information about the wine production process, growth, etc)
Getting to Concha y Toro: You can easily do this on your own with a little public transit + Uber. You can take the subway (Line 4) all the way to the southernmost end – alighting at Plaza de Puente Alto station. From the square, you can grab an Uber to the winery for about $5 USD. There are public buses that also take you close to the winery, but the Uber + subway is the easiest, low-cost method. Alternatively, It’s about a 45-minute walk from the Plaza de Puente Alto station, with a sidewalk the entire way, but many elevation changes.
Flaherty Wines – We did a day trip out to Inca Lagoon (not really sure what the hype is there) and wanted to pair the drive with a winery in the Aconcagua Valley (north of Santiago). Most day tours include the largest winery in the region – San Esteban, but we wanted a more authentic touch. I knew we were going to visit Concha y Toro, so I wanted to complement a large-scale, commercial winery with a visit to a boutique one. I found Flaherty and was immediately drawn to the small-scale, family-run (American) winery. We did a tour with owner Jenny Flaherty, who gave us a hands-on overview of their entire process, from grape growing, to fermentation to bottling. We loved all the insight and the four wines tasted beneath a trellis and gorgeous hydrangeas. Jenny also offers a lunch on Saturdays (or for large parties) with a wine pairing. Reservations are required.
Price Point: tours 22,000 CLP per person
Wine Taste: 5 out of 5
(This was my favorite winery for flavor and distinct varietals)
Distribution: Has limited exports, but can source a couple of the more popular wines through Elixir Wine Group
Tour Quality: 5 out of 5 stars
(GREAT tour by owner/operator Jenny)
Getting to Flaherty Wines: Flaherty Wines is about 1 hour north of Santiago. I would recommend renting a car or hiring a private driver for the day to visit this winery.
Vinedos Organicos Veramonte – Nestled off Ruta 68, this organic vineyard is squarely in the Casablanca Valley and less than 1 hour from Santiago. While it was purchased 7 years ago by the Spanish Gonzalez Byass brand, the vineyard has maintained its local feel with organic produce, a large sheep/lama farm and a tasteful tasting room, restaurant and viewpoints. Reservations are required if you want to do a full tour, but we stopped by to sample a few of the wines and were provided a very nice introduction to the wines by the bartender. The entry way offers great reading material about the process and history of the vineyard, so a full tour isn’t necessary. I really enjoy getting a taste of organic wineries as their process is distinct and being more popular today.
Price Point: tours starting at 16,500 CLP per person
Wine Taste: 4 out of 5
(I loved the rose Pinot Noir and Carmenere)
Distribution: You can join their wine club for exclusive blends and a discount on wines! They export a small selection of wines through Degustando.
Tour Quality: N/A
We didn’t elect to do a tour but read through all the materials in the welcome center which provided a great overview.
Getting to Vinedos Organicos Veramonte: From Santiago, I recommend renting a car or hiring a private driver for the day to explore several wineries in the Casablanca Valley before enjoying a seaside meal in Vina del Mar. The winery opens at 9 am.
Bodegas RE – I stumbled across the winery in a blog post (which sadly I can’t seem to find again but thank you to that blogger)! They mentioned a winery with an avantgarde take on wine blending. And I would have to agree. I immediately was intrigued by a winery that blended Pinot Noir and Moscato. The family originally blended wines for their own consumption, trying to reinvent the wheel and playing with unique combinations. Today, they have won numerous awards. Their unique Carignan from the Maule valley is worth a try (or a bottle)! The showroom offers a delightful shop and small food menu to pair with the tastings. They offer several different tasting/tour combos and walk-ins are accepted.
Price Point: tours starting at 12,000 CLP per person
Wine Taste: 4 out of 5
(I loved the unique blends of wines, but their process leaves some sediment, which is not my personal fav)
Distribution: As a smaller boutique, they don’t offer large exports, so be sure to buy your favorites at the shop!
Tour Quality: N/A
We didn’t do a tour but enjoyed a great introduction from the staff during our tastings by the glass.
Getting to Bodegas RE: Found in the Casablanca Valley, I would recommend renting a car or hiring a driver from Santiago. It’s only 10 minutes from Veramonte and can be combined for a great half day of tastings, followed by lunch in Vina del Mar!
I truly enjoyed our Aconcagua wine region wines (Flaherty, Bodegas RE and Veramonte). The famous Concha y Toro was a little disappointing, but worth noting for its production size and widely recognized labels. If you have the chance to rent a car, even for a day, you can visit several vineyards. Just remember to drive responsibly.
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