We can include full-day tours to selected wineries in the Casablanca wine valley from Santiago (1.5hrs), and if you accept the lengthy drive (2.5hrs each way) we can also include a trip to the Colchagua wine valley. However, it is preferable to allocate at least 2 nights or more into an itinerary pre or post your main travel itinerary where we can place you into wonderful accommodation in outstanding scenery. Typically a stay at a wine hotel will be all-inclusive with transfers, accommodation, tour, tasting and meals included as well as any other facilities such as swimming pool, walking, horse riding and biking.
There are currently 14 wine-producing valleys in Chile and most of them cut across Chile running east to west, from the Andes Mountains towards the Pacific Ocean. However, the Central Valley, which runs from about 500km north of Santiago to about 500km south of Santiago also includes a number of the “horizonatal” wine valleys as well as Santiago itself.
Chile has become renown for producing some excellent wines of late and this is down to the fact that the country posesses the right combination of “terroir” (the right mix of soil, climate and rainfall for optimum wine-grape production). The central sector of the country (the Central Valley), where the majority of the wine-producing valleys are located, enjoys (in the summer months December to March) a hot Mediterranean climate that bathes grapes in copious amounts of sunshine. However, the high Andes Mountains on the east provide natural irrigation from summer snow melt as well as a supply of cool air that fills the lower valleys early morning and late evening. With the influence from the Pacific on the west the coastal mountain range protects the valleys from becoming too cold during the day, but allow just the right amount of Pacific sea breeze to come in cool the air as well as offer much needed moisture.
The more specific wine-producing valleys, close to Santiago, that are good for winery visits are detailed below.
Bordering the southern perimeter of Santiago is the Maipo Valley. Here, over half of the 11,000-hectare production is Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination of soil, climate, 313mm average rainfall, a 26% risk of frost and extremes between very hot day and cold night temperatures enable the grapes to grow and ripen slowly giving elegant, robust and flavourfull results. Many of the premuim wines produced in Chile originate from grapes cultivated in this valley. Apart from the dominant Cabernet Sauvignon red grape, other varieties grown here are the red grapes of Merlot, Malbec, Carmenere and Syrah complimented by Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay representing white grapes.
To the west of Santiago towards the port of Valparaiso lies the Casablanca Valley. Only planted in the 1980’s this 4,000-hectare area is influenced by the natural, cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean, higher rain fall (550mm on average per year) and a 20% risk of frost. The grapes that grow best in these conditions are the whites of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
About 150km south of the Santiago, down the Pan American highway is the start of the Colchagua wine valley. This valley is full of fine vineyards and produces excellent Chilean wines. Almost 25,000 hectares are under vine here mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot and Carmenere. With the Andes to the east and coastal hills to the west these flat vine-covered plains are real wine country. The wine-capital is Santa Cruz, offering good-level hotels, an excellent museum, tours and wine-tasting. Some of the wineries here are also “out of this world” with the wineries sometimes resembling a “James Bond” film set. Top-level, luxury accommodation with direct views from the private terrace down across the valley is also offered by one winery.
Arrival and departure through Santiago airport with onward transfers to the winery or hotel in Santiago. If staying n a hotel in Santiago we will transfer you from there to the winery and also handle the return to Santiago or to the airport.
San Fernando Weather:
Mainly the specific wineries, not named here because they will be a nice surprise and it depends on where you wish to go.
Casual summer clothes, jacket for cooler temperatures, warmer tops for cool evenings.
Our selection of hotels includes many of the most popular accomodations in South America. You’ll find the perfect hotel in your budget.
Chile has some enviable wine-producing valleys close to Santiago. The Casablanca and Colchagua valleys contain some wonderful vineyards that we can show you.