Five must-visit Santiago vineyards


By Sarah Gordon

Photography by Matt Wilson

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March 2017

Whether you like big round carménères, rich cabernets or a light fruity sauvignon blanc, Chile has a wine for you, and there’s no better place to enjoy the best vintages than at the vineyards themselves. Local on the ground, Sarah Gordon, shares five of the best near Santiago.

Three of Chile’s most famous wine regions lay just outside Santiago, making them perfect for a day trip from the capital. Closest to the city you’ll find the Maipo Valley, where big commercial operations produce red wines, while the Casablanca Valley, set within the coastal cordillera on the way to Vaparaíso, is home to fresh whites. Further south, the sun-baked Colchagua Valley is another red wine heartland that’s well worth a visit.

Two amazing restaurants serve locally-sourced produce within the elegant flower-filled grounds, accompanied by wines from the vineyard

  • Experience life on a working vineyard at Matetic

    Through the grapevine

    Matetic offers all sorts of tours including walks, bike rides and horse rides around their beautiful vineyards.

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  • Indulge in the rich local cuisine to accompany your favourite wine at Lapostolle © Matt Wilson

    Wine and dine

    While the Spanish introduced vines to Chile, most of the county’s wine is more closely related to France, like the bold reds at Lapostolle.

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  • Many wineries are within driving distance from Chile’s capital, Santiago © EAQ/Getty Images

    Did you know…?

    On average, it takes around 600 grapes to make a single bottle of wine.

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Matetic

The lowdown

Just an hour west of Santiago, set right on the edge of the Casablanca Valley, Matetic benefits from a gentle ocean breeze, creating a pleasant climate for both visitors and white wine – and some red – grapes.

The entire wine-making process here is organic and biodynamic and the vineyard offers a 13,000CLP (£16) tour to explain the process at its bodega. There are also two amazing restaurants serving locally-sourced produce within the elegant flower-filled grounds, accompanied by wines from the vineyard’s Corralillo or EQ lines.

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The upgrade

Make a day of it – for 59,000CLP (£72) you can enjoy a guided tour of the vineyard on horseback, by bike, or on a hike, followed by a wine tasting and bodega tour and a three-course lunch.

Don’t miss…

The Casablanca Valley may be famous for its sauvignon blanc, but try the Matetic syrah too – it was the only Chilean wine to be named among the top 100 in the world with its first vintage.

Viña Cousiño Macul

The lowdown

Set right within Santiago, Cousiño Macul is just a 30-minute walk from the Metro station Quilín, making it one of the easiest vineyards to reach from the city. When it was founded in 1856, it was surrounded by countryside and it’s one of the few in the Maipo Valley to still be owned by the same family.

You can opt for a 45-minute or 90-minute tour to take in the 19th-century wine cellars and the estate’s own wine museum followed by a three or five-wine tasting, costing 10,000CLP (£12) and 20,000CLP (£24) respectively.

The upgrade

Why not peddle your way around the vineyard on a two-hour tour through the vines, taking in the bodega and enjoying tastings on your way? The guided tour costs $50 (£41) per person.

Don't miss...

To celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2003, the vineyard’s leading oenologist Pascal Marty created Lota, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot which was awarded a score of 93 by the Wine Advocate for its first vintage.

Viña Vik

The lowdown

A glinting swirl of gold on the horizon is how you spot Viña Vik in the Millahue Valley, two hours south of Santiago. This vineyard, created by Norwegian-Uruguayan businessman Alexander Vik, combines his dual passions for wine and art. The Frank Gehry-style gold roof you glimpse in the distance covers the restaurant and hotel of the light and airy winery created by famous Chilean architect Smiljan Radic.

Join a tasting and you can try cabernet sauvignon, carménère and syrah wines straight from the barrel, as well as the resulting blends of the Milla Cala or VIK lines. The standard wine tasting starts at $40 (£33), while the VIK tasting costs $60 (£49).

The upgrade

Combine a tasting with a tapas lunch looking out over the picture-perfect mountains from $85 (£70).

Don’t miss…

Alexander Vik’s aim is for the VIK wine to become the best in the world and it is already scoring well, so it is worth upgrading your tasting to include the VIK line and getting in before the crowds.

Lapostolle

The lowdown

Founded by the French family behind liqueur brand Grand Marnier, Lapostolle effortlessly combines the best of French and Chilean wine traditions. The stunning Clos Apalta Winery is set within the Colchagua Valley and produces organic and biodynamic wines using carménère, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and syrah grapes.

Lapostolle offers both a standard and a private tour and tasting at its amazing six-storey wine complex, priced at 20,000CLP (£24) and 35,000CLP (£43) respectively.

The upgrade

Make a reservation for an à la carte lunch after your wine tour to sample the local produce with a glass of your favourite, for around 35,000CLP (£43).

Don’t miss…

Try the Borobo line of wines, it is a combination of grapes from Lapostolle’s three vineyards scattered across Chile.

  • The Barrel Room at the Matetic winery

Viña Santa Rita

The lowdown

Just 45 minutes outside Santiago, in the Maipo Valley, Santa Rita is a historic vineyard dating back to 1880, with colonial-style buildings, beautiful landscaped grounds and even an Andean museum with a collection of more than 1,800 pre-Columbian artefacts from all over the country.

The classic tour and tasting lasts just over an hour and costs 12,000CLP (£15) per person, or 22,000CLP (£27) if you want it to be private. Alternatively, you could enjoy a premium tour and also explore the estate’s centenary park with its Roman-style baths and pretty chapel.

The upgrade

Try the two-hour winemaker experience from 35,000CLP (£43) to try your hand at mixing blends and learning to play with different grape varieties and flavours.

Don’t miss…

Why not pick up a bottle of Santa Rita’s 2012 Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon? It won a Grand Gold medal at the 2016 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.