Wine Tasting and Tours in and around the Colchagua Wine Valley, Chile


About 140km south of the Santiago, down the main Ruta 5, Pan American highway, is the town of San Fernando. From this point, a further 40km or so towards the coast is the smaller town of Santa Cruz and this is in the heart of the Colchagua wine valley.

This valley is full of fine vineyards and produces excellent Chilean wines, especially red varitals. Almost 35,000 hectares are under vine here mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Carmenere and Syrah. With the Andes to the east and coastal hills to the west these wide, flat, vine-covered plains are considered to be ideal wine country.

The “wine-capital” is Santa Cruz, which has a few colonial style buildings in some areas, as well as a number of good-level hotels and a “World Class” local history museum. From the plaza there are options to book tours and wine-tasting. Some of the wineries here are also “out of this world” with the wineries sometimes resembling a set from a “James Bond” film.

From Santiago a day trip to the Colchagua Wine Valley is doable, but not realistic considering the distances involved to get there and back (realistically 3hrs there and then 3hrs back), plus time to enjoy the winery (or wineries). It is much better to let us plan into your itinerary a stay of at least two nights in this area in order that you can relax a little and enjoy the area.


The Colchagua Wine Valley is considered to be one of the best wine-grape growing areas not only in Chile, but in South America. Its climate is ideal for the cultivation of wine grapes due to the “terroir” here. This valley has a wider, level valley floor compared to the other Chilean wine areas. It is also very fertile and receives the cool breeze from the Pacific, enjoys hot, summer days, but a little more rainfall than the wine valleys further north.

Many of Chile’s top wineries have territory here and produce excellent varietal wine, especially Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and now Syrah. The Casablanca Wine Valley, further north, is known for its white wines, but the Colchagua Wine Valley is known for its red wines.

In this wine-producing area are wineries such as Casa Lapostolle, Montes, Casa Silva, Bisquert among others as well as Los Vascos, which has the historic Baron de Rothschilds family, known for its top Bordeaux wines, behind it; and that in itself demonstrates a clear confidence that this valley can produce top-quality grapes to make quality wine.

The Colchagua area is very much a rural district, and the wine-growing only started in the late 1980’s. The valley covers approximately 100km running west to east, which is basically the area from the inner side of the coastal mountain range across to the base of the Andes mountains.


The Colchagua Wine Valley is known for Good Red Wine
Like many of the wine-producing valleys in Chile, Colchagua is better suited for certain grapes, and not all grapes. The conditions here appear to be good for the red wine producing grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, Merlot and more recently Malbec. There are some wineries producing Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with vines planted at the western end of the valley closer to the Pacific, but these are in the minority.

Climate, Weather & Soil

In line with the Central Valley of Chile, the overall climate in the Colchagua area is Mediterranean with hot, dry, sunny days in the summer months, that are tempered by the cool air maritime influence that comes off the cold, Pacific Ocean.

At the western end of the Colchagua Valley are the lower-height coastal mountains and these allow for the cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean to come into the valley and mix with the winds coming down from the higher Andes in the east.

This allows for the very hot, summer days, in the valley to be cooled and this, in turn, allows the grapes to enjoy a longer than otherwise maturation period. This situation preserves acidity, resulting in red wines that are fresh and with deep colouring.

Considering that Colchagua is located 34° south of the equator, if it were not for the Pacific breeze influence the valley would likely be too hot to produce the grapes it does. For example, the Bordeaux wine-producing region in Europe, in the northern hemisphere is located at 44.84 ° north of the equator.

To illustrate the point further, at the almost equivalent location of 34 ° north of the equator is Tripoli in Libya, northern Africa, located at 32.88 °N, and that is almost the same distance that Colchagua is from the equator. However, there are not many, if any, decent wine producing areas around Tripoli!

However, Colchagua will receive a similar amount of sun as Tripoli and that is a key ingredient to good wine-grape production.

The other factor that influences the Colchagua Wine Valley is the Tinguiririca River, which flows through the town of Santa Cruz and the northern border of the valley. The river brings with it silt and minerals from the high Andes and regularly replenishes the nutrients in the soil as well as moderating the valley temperature.

The soil in the Colchagua Valley is a mix of silt, granite and clay. The vines planted on the valley hill sides benefit from free-draining land and this forces the vines to “work” resulting in smaller grapes, but with a stronger flavour. The slightly higher altitude on the slopes also provides a greater diurnal temperature variation compared to the vines on the valley floor and these grapes end up with a better balance of ripeness and acidity.

Wine Tours and Tasting

Here at ExperienceChile.Org we will be pleased to include in your overall travel itinerary a custom program in the Maipo Wine Valley that fits your needs.

Obviously, there is always the option of a rent a car and you drive yourself to the wineries, however, most people prefer to be driven, relax and enjoy everything as much as possible.

Within the Maipo Wine Valley are these principal wineries that offer tastings and tours (as well as others not listed here):

Concha y Toro
This is a famous vineyard due to a very successful marketing and wine distribution campaign. In many countries such as the UK, USA and China, a bottle of Concha y Toro can be found in the supermarket wine sector. Consequently, there are large tour parties that now frequent this vineyard.

Santa Rita
One of the historically classic vineyards of Chile that also offers accommodation (see our Wine Accommodation Partners below). Tours, tastings and a restaurant are on offer here.

Haras de Pirque (Private Visits Only)
A small winery nestled a little way up the sides of one of the Andes foothills. The main building is shaped in the form of a horseshoe when viewed from above. This is not an accident. The Matte family who started the vineyard were also in the race-horse breeding business and wanted to link their passion for horse breeding to wine. Therefore, building the wine-making facility in the form of a horse shoe was the ideal way to link the two passions.

The building has been constructed into the hill whereby the higher levels are connected to the lower levels by a series of steps. Gravity allows the wine in the tanks to travel downhill from one part of the production process to the other.

Within the heart of the complex, at the lowest level is an artistically-created and impressive cellar with a central tasting area, above which is a transparent ceiling allowing for natural light to pierce through the otherwise unlit underground arena of wine barrels.

From the exterior terrace is a fine view out over the vineyard and valley below.

Within the Colchagua Wine Valley are these principal wineries that offer tastings and tours (as well as others not listed here):

The Santa Cruz vineyard is a project of its owner, Carlos Cardoen, a very successful Chilean, industrial businessman who has migrated into the world of wine and tourism. He is also the owner of the Santa Cruz Plaza hotel in the heart of Santa Cruz as well as the excellent museum next to the hotel, and the gambling casino, also close by.

However, the vineyard is located over the hills away from the principal wine valley and here, apart from having a tour and experiencing wine tasting, there is a short cable car ride that transports visitors up to the reception area as well as a fair ground carrousel at the entrance.

It gives the impression that it is very much a touristic product, but can be perceived a as “intriguing” place to visit.

This is one of the best vineyards to visit (prior reservation required). Located in the Apalta valley, which is akin to a “tributary” valley to the main Colchagua Wine Valley. The wine making unit is at an elevated position on a hill side. This allows for superb views down over the vineyards as well as the greater Apalta valley and Andes in the distance.

The wine-making facility has been intelligently designed and styled. Using the natural rock embedded in the hillside behind the building, the coolness of the rock keeps the cellars cool too as the colder air drops down into where the cellar is located. The large barrels used for wine storage are aesthetically aligned and below “deck” is the artistically-looking cellar with soft lighting and high-tech looking tasting table in the middle.

The Vik vineyard is another, “top end” winery to visit, although it is not located in the same Colchagua Wine Valley as those above. Effectively, if one could walk over the hill from Viña La Postolle, you would come down and meet the Viña Vik in the adjacent valley.

To get here requires a detour out of the Colchagua valley, back to main Ruta 5 highway and a turn towards the coast, at Pelequen on Ruta 66, therefore west, towards San Vicente. However, you then need to aim for Millahue (note, there is another Millahue in the Colchagua valley and that is not the right one).

The best option would be to visit Vik on the way to Colchagua and come down the Ruta 5 on the way to San Fernando, but turn off right at Pelequen onto the Ruta 66 and then turn off again to Millahue.

An alternative route is also from the Ruta 5 but take the turn off just before San Fernando to the Casa Silva vineyard and continue on the country road that will lead to Millahue. Vina Vik is close to Millahue.

The vineyard is the project of an extremely wealthy person who has created an exceptionally futuristic-looking wine-processing facility that would easily look at home on a James Bond film set.

You would be advised to have prior reservations for a visit.

Viña Casa Silva

Access to this vineyard is a few km before arriving to San Fernando, just off to the right of the main Ruta 5 Highway. It is signposted right to “Casa Silva”.
The main building here at Casa Silva is a historically old, colonial style property which suffered damage in the earthquake of 2010, however, it has since been renovated and once again is open to visitors.

Partner Wine Hotels

Remember, here at ExperienceChile.Org, we only work with selected hotels that we determine offer a certain level of accommodation, style and service. We are therefore pleased to say that the following properties meet our criteria and chosen by us to be one of our accommodation partners.

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