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. Also, different regions specialize in different types of wine. For example, Colchagua is known for its red wines. Have fun deciding which one(s) makes sense for you!
SANTA RITA WINERY
I spent the most time here because I was staying at the hotel on the premises. The tour here is nice, the best part is that they let you pick the grapes off the vines to taste. The grapes are absolutely delicious! Other than that, the tour is nothing very special. There is however, a wine tasting room, where you can order a tasting, or a glass of wine and go to their patio which is extremely relaxing. There is also a restaurant on the premises if you were looking for some food!
VINA HARAS DE PIRQUE
This was my favorite wine tour! Make a reservation ahead of time, they also have a nice restaurant. I arrived later in the day and tried to see if there were any tours available. I was just extremely lucky and the last tour of the day was just about the start so they waited for us! There is a restaurant here as well that is open for lunch which was closed by the time I arrived so I’m not sure how the food is but it looked very nice! This is a smaller producer and the tour was just my husband and I with one other couple so we learned a lot! They even take you up on their twisting metal staircases to the top of the wine vats, which was a different view than I’ve ever seen, very cool! The tour finishes with a tasting in their underground wine cellar. The tasting room is actually underneath a fountain so you are in this cellar, under moving water, it is very cool! This winery used to also own the horses and stables on site (recently sold) so there are a lot of horse themes to be noticed. The wine cellar and tasting room are both in the shape of a horseshoe and some of their popular wines are made with particular horses in mind. Go and visit, you will learn all about it!
CONCHA Y TORO WINERY
This winery is a short drive from Santa Rita and not too far from the center of Santiago as well. I did not take the full wine tour here, instead, I sat outside on their lovely patio and did a tasting with some cheese and empanadas! The restaurant here was good and if you had to choose between the wine restaurant here or at Santa Rita for food, I would pick here! It’s very lovely and the wine is also well known in the US.
CASA REAL HOTEL
The one thing to note about this hotel is that they give you an option to include dinner with your stay if you would like. I opted to not put it into the package price, however, upon arriving, you realize there are not many other options. I ended up eating all my meals here. What does this mean? You basically have your own private chef and server for breakfast and dinner (the hotel was not fully booked) and the food is incredible. Yes, this option is a little pricey but a really great option if you can splurge.
SANTA RITA WINERY- CASA REAL HOTEL
This hotel is a dream. It’s about a 45 minute drive south of Santiago. I believe there are also public transportation options, but I wanted to rent a car and have some flexibility. It’s located on the grounds of Santa Rita winery which is a larger scale production winery. When you pull up, it’s not clear where to go to check into the hotel. If you’re Spanish is rough like mine currently is, it’s a little tricky. I thought I was checking into the hotel and was actually signing up for a wine tour! Haha- whoops! Anyway, I finally figured out that I needed to drive past the winery down a dirt road to arrive at the hotel. It is small in hotel terms, but it’s one large mansion with 12 (I believe) rooms. When I arrived, I was in complete awe. The mansion is absolutely stunning and if it’s possible, the grounds are even more jaw dropping. Everything about this place is special. We were told there was a pool on the grounds, we were walking around trying to find it, and came across what we thought was a rundown pool. Later, the staff laughed at us telling us that was just a large fountain and pointed us to the beautiful pool! This is one of the most relaxing places I have ever stayed at. You walk around and all your hear are water fountains, and birds chirping and the rooms themselves are lovely. You are in complete seclusion and in walking distance to their winery, what can be better? Again, it’s a little expensive, but I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else!