The Ruta del Vino Valle del Maule includes four wineries which are open to the public, and visits can be arranged independently or through the Ruta del Vino Valle del Maule office at the Hotel Casino in Talca at Av Circunvalación Oriente 1055 (valledelmaule.cl). While the office doesn’t provide package tours or transport to the vineyards, staff can refer you to private Talca-based operators.
Getting to the wineries
All these wineries are easy to visit on day-trips from Talca, either by taxi or on public transport down the Panamericana, into Villa Alegre, up to San Javier and back to Talca. Unless otherwise specified, all these wineries should be contacted in advance.
Viña Balduzzi Balmaceda 1189 in San Javier, 73 322138, balduzzi.cl. One of the best wineries to visit on your own, as you can drop in without a reservation for a 45min guided tour of its bodegas. With 200 acres of vineyards and beautiful grounds featuring an old casa patronal, a chapel and a parque centenario full of 100-year-old trees, this is a very picturesque example of a Central Valley winery.
Viña Coral Victoria Camino San Clemente Km 11, 71 621404, corralvictoria.cl. On the road east from Talca to San Clemente, this boutique winery has a small but perfectly formed 27 acres of vineyards and also offers horseriding. The meat-centric restaurant is good value.
Viña Gillmore Camino Constitución Km 20 in San Javier, 73 197 5539, tabonko.cl. This family-run winery is one of the oldest vineyards in Chile. Also known as Tabontinaja or Tabonko, it has a good set-up for tourists, with tours examining the ecology of its vineyards. There’s also a guesthouse – rooms have Jacuzzis – and spa where you can indulge in a wine bath.
Viña Via Wines Fundo La Esperanza s/n in San Rafael, 08 429 1158, www.viawines.com. North of Talca, covering 1300 acres, this is the flagship vineyard for the brand best known for its Oveja Negra (Black Sheep) variety.