You’ve most likely heard of the most famous of Chile’s wine regions, the Maipo Valley. It stretches east from Santiago all the way to the foothills of the majestic Andes. Some of the Maipo Valley’s most historic vineyards date back to the Spanish conquistadors, but the region really began to flourish in the 19th century. It was then that Bordeaux grapes were imported from France and began to thrive in its temperate climate. Today Maipo Valley is home to some of Chile’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons, and it’s here that you can find world-class wines such as Concha y Toro’s Don Melchor and Viña Santa Rita’s Casa Real. It’s the closest wine region to Santiago and you can reach it in an easy half-day trip.
Maipo Valley’s temperate climate produces some of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons © Tetyana Dotsenko/Shutterstock
This contemporary Chilean wine-growing region is close to Pacific Ocean, between Santiago and the port city of Valparaiso. The Casablanca Valley was established in the 1980s, when Pablo Morandé – ‘The Pioneer’ – planted the country’s first cool-climate vineyards. It quickly became one of Chile’s most important white wine producing regions. It focuses on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and Veramonte is arguably the region’s best-known winery. Elsewhere, Matetic Vineyard produces tropical, citrus-scented Sauvignon Blancs and a flagship spicy Syrah. Like Maipo Valley, you can visit it on a day trip from the capital or tie it in with Valparaíso’s maze of steep streets and brightly coloured houses.
Around 160km south of Santiago, the Colchagua Valley is often dubbed the Napa Valley of South America. If you’re a red wine lover, it should be your first port of call. Home to around 1,700 vineyards, it’s a region known for its intense and aromatic Chilean speciality grape Carmenere. Colchagua Valley’s Carmenere, along with its Syrah and Malbec, make regular appearances on the world’s best-of lists. It’s also one of the most visitor-friendly wine routes, with top wineries including Casa Lapostolle and Viña Montes. If you visit in March, you can celebrate all things vino related at the annual three-day Grape Harvest Festival that takes place around the colonial town of Santa Cruz. Away from the wine tastings, you’ll find that the valley is great place for hiking, biking and horse riding.
There’s some 1,700 vineyards in the Colchagua Valley, most of which specialise in red grape varieties © Steve Allen/Shutterstock