Calling all oenophiles: This guided 6-day tour is a chance to become a Chilean wine connoisseur. Starting in the capital city, you'll hit the open road for the country's best wine valleys offering an array of climates, varietals, and production techniques. There will be estates and vineyards to explore galore, as well as dozens of tastings—often paired with delectable local cuisine.

Highlights

  • Take a blood-pumping hike in Santiago for city views (or catch the gondola)
  • Help your guide choose which prestigious vineyards to visit in Maipo Valley
  • Look for peach and lemon orchards while driving through Aconcagua Valley
  • Get the low-down on Casablanca Valley's organic and biodynamic viticulture
  • Explore a winery by horse-drawn carriage on your last full day

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 2 Maipo Valley Wine Experience - Return to Santiago Santiago
Day 3 Aconcagua Valley Wine Experience - Transfer to Los Andes Los Andes
Day 4 Casablanca Valley Wine Experience - Overnight at La Casona Lodge Casablanca Valley
Day 5 Colchagua Valley Experience - Transfer to Santa Cruz Santa Cruz
Day 6 Apalta Valley Wine Experience - Transfer to Santiago - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Santiago de Chile

Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal
Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal

Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day to explore the city at your leisure. 

Suggested activities include:

  • Hike to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, where you can get your bearings by surveying the area from a high vantage point. Pathways lead 2,788 feet (850 m) up this central hill to a series of lookouts that offer wraparound views of Santiago. If you aren't the hiking type, not to worry: catch a scenic gondola instead.

  • Stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista. On the north side of Santiago, you'll find this trendy enclave, at once fashionable and bohemian. Stroll past colorful houses adorned with graffiti art and choose between an eclectic array of eateries and bars—great for people watching. 

  • Visit the Plaza de Armas, a stone plaza located in Santiago's historic center dating to 1541. There's also the impressive Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church dating to 1748 whose towering twin bell towers dominate the north side of the plaza.

  • Snap pics in front of the Palacio de la Moneda. Chile's opulent Presidential Palace (known simply as "La Moneda") is a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas. It was here in 1973 that Chile's armed forces, backed by the U.S. government, overthrew President Salvador Allende, kicking off a brutal right-wing military dictatorship that would last for 17 years. Visitors are welcome.

For dinner be sure to get out of the hotel and enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination. Chilean chefs are reinventing traditional dishes like empanadas, cazuelas (stews), and seafood with ingredients harvested all the way from the northern deserts and southern Patagonian regions. You can find great restaurants and wine bars not only in the Bellavista neighborhood but also in the revitalized historic barrios of Yungay and Italia.

Day 2: Maipo Valley Wine Experience - Return to Santiago

Sunny vistas in Maipo Valley
Sunny vistas in Maipo Valley

After breakfast in Santiago, it's time for a tour of the Valle de Maipo (Maipo Valley)—a rich wine-producing region in central Chile. The great thing about Maipo Valley is that it's located the shortest distance from the capital. So in the morning, you'll depart from your hotel on a journey of just a few minutes to this hotbed of viniculture.

This day's tour covers the history of wine and the almost magical art that goes into its production. The scenery adds to the experience as you find yourself amid the fertile green valley and imposing Andes Mountains. You will visit two prestigious vineyards here of your choice. Options include the Viña Cousiño Macul and Viña Undurraga, amongst others.

Whichever vineyards you tour, you can be rest assured you'll be tasting the best Maipo wines featuring unique bouquets and flavor profiles. The tour to both wineries covers every aspect of production, from the grape to the bottle. You'll also have the opportunity to pair the wines you sample with tasty tidbits like fine cheeses.

Finally, in the afternoon you will return to your hotel in Santiago where you'll have the rest of the evening to explore the city.

Day 3: Aconcagua Valley Wine Experience - Transfer to Los Andes

A modern tasting room in Aconcagua Valley
A modern tasting room in Aconcagua Valley

This morning it's time to say goodbye to Santiago! After breakfast, you will travel to the Aconcagua Valley at the foothills of the Andes. Receiving between 240 and 300 days of sunshine per year, the valley offers the ideal climate for viticulture.

Vineyards are concentrated around Panquehue, a town in the center of the valley that's hemmed in by coastal ranges. Characterized by north winds and marine currents, this valley corridor has a unique climate that favors the cultivation of red wines, allowing for the optimum and slow ripening of the grapes. The surrounding fertile region is also home to numerous peach and lemon orchards.

Your first stop will be San Esteban Winery, where you’ll take part in a guided tour and learn about the various stages of the winemaking process. During the tour, you'll taste four wines, including the award-winning blend Laguna Del Inca.

Next on the itinerary is the famous Errazuriz Winery where you'll be served traditional local dishes for lunch. While here, take part in a vineyard tour and learn all about viticulture. You will have the chance to enjoy one of the most impressive views of the valley from the area’s new lookout point.

Finally, pay a visit to Icon Winery, and end your tour with a tasting of four wines of the Max Reserva range, namely Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenére, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the evening, transfer to your hotel in the town of Los Andes. This old colonial town has narrow streets and a lively main square attracting travelers in transit to nearby trails and ski resorts, so get out and explore the restaurant options. If you have time, check out the Los Andes Historical and Archaeological Museum for local artifacts, or walk up to the Cerro de la Virgen, with a hilltop statue and panoramic valley views. Also nearby is the Río Blanco National Reserve, home to condors and pumas.

Day 4: Casablanca Valley Wine Experience - Overnight at La Casona Lodge

Snowcapped mountains in Casablanca Valley
Snowcapped mountains in Casablanca Valley

Today is another rough one: You'll spend the day touring three prominent vineyards in beautiful Casablanca Valley—situated between the Pacific Ocean and coastal mountains of central Chile—with plenty of tastings along the way.

With a strong maritime influence from the ocean, the valley’s climate is cool with misty mornings that give way to crisp, clear days. This chilly climate is ideally suited for growing white grapes rich in color and aroma producing refreshing white wines. This makes sense since 'casa' and 'blanca' translate to white house in Spanish.

Your first stop will be Emiliana Organic Winery where you'll learn about organic and biodynamic viticulture and high-quality production methods. While here, you'll also have the chance to taste four different wines: Novas Sauvignon Blanc, Novas Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay/Marsanne/Viognier, Novas Winemaker’s Selection Syrah/Mourvedre, and the famous Coyam pour.

For lunch, head to Morande Winery where you'll be served local dishes with a selection of wine pairings at the attached House of Morande Restaurant.

Full belly in tow, you'll spend the afternoon at Matetic Winery for a tour of the premises, accompanied by yet another wine tasting—and later, a delicious dinner served on-site.

Luckily you won't have to travel far from here. In the evening, you'll check in to your room at La Casona Lodge conveniently located on the premise of Matetic Winery. The remainder of the night  is yours to relax and bask in the beauty of the Casablanca Valley. 

Day 5: Colchagua Valley Experience - Transfer to Santa Cruz

A red wine vineyard in the Colchagua Valley
A red wine vineyard in the Colchagua Valley

This morning get ready to explore another wine valley! After enjoying a lovely breakfast at Matetic Winery, you'll make your way to the Colchagua Valley—often considered Chile's premier wine region, especially if you enjoy bold, inky reds. 

Situated between the Andes and the Coastal Mountain Range, the valley’s granitic and volcanic soils merge with an arid Mediterranean climate, causing grapes to ripen slower. Unlike yesterday's Casablanca Valley, which was famous for whites, Colchagua's consistent heat causes the sensitive skins of white wine grapes to perish, while red wine grapes flourish. What you have, then, is a flourishing organic red wine industry known for berry and tobacco notes. 

Your first stop in the valley will be MontGras Winery for a winery tour and tasting of their premium wines. Next, you'll venture to Viu Manent Winery. Here, you'll explore the winery and vineyards from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. You'll also have the opportunity to enjoy La Llaveria, a 20th-century estate that fully embodies Chilean epoch architecture. For lunch, head to the on-site restaurant, which serves traditional yet innovative cuisine, paired with a selection of delicious wines. 

From here, you'll travel closer to the Apalta Valley to visit the famous Montes Winery. During your tour, you'll soak in the gorgeous views of the surrounding landscapes, including lush vegetation and stunning mountain views. You'll also have the opportunity to learn about the winery's innovative cultivation and production methods. 

Dinner will be served at one of Colchagua Valley's top restaurants, and then you'll be transferred to a hotel in Santa Cruz for a relaxing evening. 

Day 6: Apalta Valley Wine Experience - Transfer to Santiago - Departure

A morning surrounded by grapes before returning to Santiago
A morning surrounded by grapes before returning to Santiago

It's time to say goodbye to Chile! But first, there's more wine tasting to be had.

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll head to the world-class Clos Apalta Winery. Consisting of five levels, this enormous winery has a unique, gravity-fed design allowing the wine to flow downward during every production stage (eliminating the need to pump). Three levels are buried into the hillside granite providing a naturally cool environment, which is ideal for cellaring and aging.

During your tour, you'll learn all about this innovative winery and have a chance to sample its unique wines. For lunch, venture to Clos Apalta's on-site restaurant to enjoy your last delicious meal on this viticulture adventure. 

After lunch, you'll transfer back to the Santiago airport to board your flight back home. ¡Buen viaje! 

Map

Map of Chile's Iconic Wine Valleys - 6 Days
Map of Chile's Iconic Wine Valleys - 6 Days
Deborah
Written by Deborah Hayman, updated Mar 18, 2019