Casablanca

If you have never traveled to Chile and wine touring and you are perhaps used to wineries in Napa Valley or even most European countries, Chile is different.  Each winery has a gate upon entering the grounds with a gate keeper.  You must state your reason for visiting and most require reservations ahead of time.  As you may gather, I am a total planner and like to have everything mapped out.  This, however, is NOT the case when winery hopping.  I find the fun of it to be around the spontaneity.  If you go to a winery and really love it and are enjoying yourself, I hate the idea of rushing just to make another appointment.  Luckily, I was able to go to most places without a reservation.  The wineries that have restaurants afford you that flexibility.  It is, however, best, to at least try to make a plan for the day before setting off.  It’s also important to note when planning your Chilean adventure, there are a lot of wine regions! No need to fear, all have something special to offer.  Figure out what makes sense for you on your trip.  I decided that I wanted to be close to Santiago which is why I chose Colchagua Valley and Casablanca.  Also, different regions specialize in different types of wine.  For example, Casablanca is known for its whites.  Have fun deciding which region(s) makes sense for you!

The Activities

VINA MAR

This winery is right off of the main highway.  When you think winery, you don’t necessarily want to also think, highway.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t impact your stay.  I did not have a reservation or anything and when I went through the gate after saying I wanted a tasting, as a drove down the long dirt road, I noticed that they were setting up for a wedding! How amazing! Anyway, I went inside and was greeted by someone who did not speak very good English.  No need to worry, another person came to help us out.  My husband and I each did a tasting.  I did the sparkling tasting as Vina Mar is known for their Sparkling wines.  I absolutely loved them! There was also another local couple there who told us they frequently visit, do a tasting and buy a lot of wine.  They left with a few cases and I left jealous that I could only buy a few. 

CASAS DEL BOSQUE

This is a gorgeous winery and restaurant.  If you are looking for food, this is the place! There is a fancy restaurant that requires reservations because it is so crowded, seriously, you can’t eat at the restaurant without reservations.  While I wish I has known that, there is an outdoor lounge with a bar where you can order more casual food and still do wine tastings.  I had no choice but to go for this option.  If you can’t get a reservation, this section is perfect! Low key and great food!  This is a great place to spend hours and if you are traveling with a larger group, the large lounge benches and tables can accommodate easily.  Sit back and enjoy.

MATETIC VINEYARDS

I did a tour and tasting at this winery as it came with the overnight stay package.  The winery is very nice and the tour was pretty good.  The wine cellar was a very cool room with misting stations which was something new that I don’t normally see.  Finish with a tasting and enjoy. 

The Food

HOTEL MATETIC

If you have read other sections of Chile, you will realize that it seems to be a popular option for hotels to have a package dinner and your stay included in the price per night.  Hotel Matetic is another place that dinner is required to book with your stay.  The meal they provide for you is pretty good!  The main meal here was lamb over pasta! They offer a few different menu options to cater to your dietary needs. 

The Lodging

HOTEL MATETIC - LA CASONA

This is another winery/hotel with a small amount of rooms to stay overnight.  It is probably about an hour west of Santiago and is in the beautiful region of Casablanca.  This hotel is also very nice.  Of all the hotels I stayed in while in Santiago, it had the most comfortable bed (and I really appreciate a comfortable bed while traveling, but I guess, who doesn’t?)!  The lounge area of the hotel is nice and there is also a nice pool and lounge chairs.  If you are getting the message, the wine region hotels are all about relaxing!

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© Pamela Loria Pennisi