Touring Santiago’s Wineries

| April 20, 2011 | 4 Comments
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Southern Discovery

The Maipo Valley is the oldest wine-producing valley in Chile, and it lies just south of Santiago, extending from the foot of the Andes to the middle of the Central Valley. It’s here, on the first full day of our tour, where Kathryn and I found ourselves sampling those bold Cabernet Sauvignons that have garnered Chile international recognition in wine circles.

Of course, Chile’s largest and more traditional wineries can be found here, but the region is also home to up-and-coming boutique wineries. During our tour, we visited two—Concha y Toro’s Casillero del Diablo (a large multinational concern) and Cavas del Maipo (a local artisanal winery).

casillerodeldiablo Touring Santiagos Wineries

Concha y Toro’s Casillero del Diablo.

As explained to us by our tear leader Zaida, wine tasting is a relatively new experience in Santiago (wineries opened their doors to visitors about ten years ago). That being said, it’s caught on quickly. These days, vineyard tours provide an inside view of one of Chile’s fastest growing industries—and the opportunity to taste some amazing wines that are not available anywhere else.

conchaytorograpesonthevine Touring Santiagos Wineries

Grapes on the vine — ready to be harvested!

While wine tours near Santiago are a recent development, Chilean wine has an extremely rich history dating back to the 1500s with the arrival of Spain’s Catholic Missionaries. Vine clippings were originally brought over from Spain for the production of sacramental wine. Of course, European vines thrived in Chile’s fertile soil and vine cultivation quickly spread.

conchaytoro Touring Santiagos Wineries

Delicious!

Our first stop was Concha y Toro’s Casillero del Diablo. This winery was founded in 1883 by Don Melchor Concha y Toro—and is the largest producer of export wines in Chile. Among the winery’s most notable attractions are its ancient cellars, which gave birth to the “Casillero del Diablo” (Devil’s Cellar) legend. Born more than a century ago, this legend was propagated by the winery’s founder who noticed bottles missing from his collection. He spread a rumour that the devil dwelled within his cellar—and his lie worked like a charm!  From then on, strangers kept their distance and a name was born, Casillero del Diablo—the Devil’s Cellar.

cavasdelmaipovines Touring Santiagos Wineries

The Cavas del Maipo vineyards. Beautiful!

We also toured the Cavas del Maipo Winery. Located at the head of Maipo River Canyon, at the highest part of the well-known Maipo Valley — this is a family owned concern. The owners, the Devil’s Cellar Family, are originally from a little town near Barcelona and they emigrated to Chile in 1950, bringing with them a tradition of growing grapes and making wine for nearly 300 years! All the wines are handpicked and estate-made and bottled. As Mr Romogosa is fond of saying — theirs might “not be the brightest star, but a little one that makes the night different and a little more pleasant!” We spent the afternoon sampling wines — and eating freshly roasted almonds from the family’s grounds.

cheers Touring Santiagos Wineries

Cheers!

Maipo Valley wineries —both Concha y Toro and Cavas del Maipo — can be reached by public transportation from Santiago. Though only an hour or two from downtown, they seem worlds away! Rivers flow down from the Andes though endless acres of vines—a perfect setting to relax and enjoy some great wines!


Disclosure: At Two Go Round-The-World, we value the conversation that exists between us and our readers—and the trust on which that relationship is based. Here we’re committed to creating an environment informed by that trust. In the interests of full disclosure, we travelled with Gap Adventures, with whom Daniel works. That being said, his opinions should not be construed as representing those of his employer. For more information on disclosures and relationships, please check our ‘About Us‘ page.

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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. His latest book, The Physics of Flocking, gathers his favourite writing featured over the past two years on Two Go Round-The-World in columns like 'Looking Back' and 'The Whole Picture'—along with new reflections.

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  1. Travel Blog Roundup (April 27) | Budget Your Trip | April 28, 2011
  1. Andrea says:


    Our recent time in Chile was a real eye-opener; we loved the wines there, Cabernet Sauvignons and Sauvignon Blancs in particular. We missed out on wine tours near Santiago, though and plan to do one when we head back through in June. It’s interesting how wine touring is only a recent phenomenon – we found that in Argentina as well.

    • Daniel says:


      It’s all about the Malbec for Kathryn and I! At it best it tastes like a softer, lusher Merlot. It also ages really well. The Malbec name is not yet well recognized and so you can score some good bottles at reasonable prices. The Gascon Malbec is a tasty value we sampled two nights ago with friends. Good stuff.


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