I thought it would be a good idea to check out the best and most well-known of the wine producing areas in Chile, the Colchagua Valley. Chile has an excellent wine industry, and Chilean wines have been getting noticed more and more the past few years.
Tour with Turistik
Getting to some of the wineries in the Colchagua Valley is tricky and time consuming without your own car, so I decided to take a tour with Turistik. The tour included all transportation and the cost of the winery tours. At CLP $76,500, it was very expensive, but still cheaper than renting a car for the day.
The service bus picked me up at 8:30am at Patio Bellavista in Santiago and took me to the actual tour van. We had 10 people on the tour, mostly from Brazil and a few from Australia and Switzerland. It was a good three hour drive before hitting the first vineyard, but we made a pit stop for breakfast halfway there.
Viña Montes was our first stop. We had a great tour with a very funny guide. She first gave us a talk about the history of the winery as we looked over the vineyard from the patio at the main entrance.
Then, as she explained the harvest process, we got to taste some of the grapes that they use.
We got a chance to see the large barrels where the maturation process takes place. After this, it was off to the wine cellar. They added to the atmosphere by piping classical music into the room. The group had about 10 minutes to wander around and take pictures.
Finally, we tasted four wines – a cabernet, merlot, carménère, and chardonnay. I liked every single one of them, which is unusual because I hate merlot.
After the tour at Montes, we headed to the town of Santa Cruz for lunch. In typical Turistik fashion, we were taken to a tourist trap buffet restaurant for CLP $16,000 per person. I wasn’t too happy about that.
Since the restaurant was located on the main square, Plaza de Armas, I decided to wander around and find something cheaper. I was very surprised there were no alternatives, so I went into the supermarket and got some empanadas and a drink for under CLP $2,000. Problem solved.
The town was nice. I would love to return and see the Museo Colchagua. It’s known as the best private museum in all of Chile.
Viña Santa Cruz
Our next winery was Viña Santa Cruz. It was definitely the most beautiful winery of all I’ve visited in Chile. We started with a quick introduction at the entrance.
We then rode a cable car up to the top of a hill.
At the top there were some buildings that made up a museum about the indigenous groups of Chile.
After the museum, we saw a llama in a pen and had a chance to admire the views. I would definitely stay there a few days – if there was a swimming pool.The llama was a nice touch.
Next, we went into the winery to hear the same exact story about how their vineyard was unique in Chile, their maturation process, blablabla. We were ready for the wine.
We went into the cellar and tried four wines. I wasn’t impressed. Montes was the clear winner. A Chilean friend I spoke to after the tour told me that Montes is one of the best in Chile, but Santa Cruz was easily the most beautiful. I agree 100%.
Overall, it was a fun tour, except for the lunch fiasco. If I had some friends with me, I would definitely rent a car and try out more wineries in this valley. The scenery alone is worth the trip.