The Best Wineries in Chile, South America

Visitors can tour Chiles wine estates by horse and carriage before settling down for a tasting of one its renowned vintages
Visitors can tour Chile's wine estates by horse and carriage before settling down for a tasting of one its renowned vintages | © Hoberman Publishing / Alamy Stock Photo
Benjamin Parkin

Chile’s extreme geography makes it fertile ground for wine growers. This Culture Trip guide to its finest wineries will have you traveling extraordinary landscapes crowned by mountain peaks – and delicious vintages.

1. Viña Undurraga


The Undurraga Winery (Vina Undurraga), Talagante, Maipo Valley, Region Metropolitana, Chile, South America
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the oldest wineries in Chile spreads across the producing areas of the Maipo Valley, just outside Santiago. Viña Undurraga was the first in the country to export vino to the USA. Known for some excellent sparkling wines, it lays on guided tours that include a whirl around the cellars and the aroma room, with tastings, before a trip to that all-important souvenir shop. The winery’s gardens, designed in the 19th century, appeal to nature lovers as well as wine buffs. You’ll be in good company, as celebrities of the Neil Armstrong and Gabriel García-Márquez order have paid visits.

2. Viña Santa Carolina


Wine casks Santa Carolina Santiago de Chile Chile
© FRIEDRICHSMEIER / Alamy Stock Photo

Named after owner Luis Pereira Cotapos’ wife, the cellars were declared a national historic monument in 1973 for their construction using a mixture of limestone and egg white, a signature method at the time. Cotapos hired a French winemaker – Germain Bachelet – to up the wine-making ante, producing a number of varieties including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, sauvignon blanc, riesling and gewürztraminer.

3. Estancia El Cuadro


Chardonnay Grapevines In Estancia El Cuadro, Casablanca Valley, Valparaiso Region, Chile
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Aside from a show-stopping location in the bucolic Casablanca Valley, 100km (62mi) north-west of the country’s capital, a trip to this vineyard includes the expected explanation of the wine-making culture and museum, as well as a traditional Chilean lunch on the terrace and the chance to sit in the sun-dappled gardens. As a final treat, guests are given a horse and carriage ride. And the wine? You’ll get to sample sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir.

4. Clos Apalta Winery


Couple having a romantic dinner in the fermentation room of Clos Apalta winery. Colchagua Valley, Chile.
© Cephas Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Also known as Lapostolle, after the French owners, who incidentally brought the world the orange-flavored liqueur Grand Marnier, this Colchagua winery was originally famed for its carmenère and cabernet sauvignon blends. Today, however, it produces a terroir series of syrah and carmenère from around Chile. It’s worth booking a stay – there is a celebrated restaurant and luxury hotel set among the biodynamic vineyards.

5. Casas del Toqui


Based in Cachapoal in central Chile, this sustainable winery uses natural corks and organic farming. It was founded in 1994, when a French wine producer in the Bordeaux area relocated to Chile and joined forces with local talent. The winery has built up a reputation for its cabernet sauvignon, in particular, although expect to savour other robust red and crisp white-wine varieties.

6. Concha y Toro


wine tasting, Concha y Toro vineyard, Santiago, Chile. Image shot 02/2015. Exact date unknown.
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Latin America’s largest wine grower, Concha y Toro produces one of the most widely recognized lines in the world, Casillero del Diablo. It is one of Chile’s oldest wineries, founded in 1883 by the formidably named Don Melchor Santiago de Concha y Toro. The line named in his honor, Don Melchor, is an outstanding and renowned cabernet sauvignon. Visit the winery, located an hour outside of Santiago, for tours and tasting sessions, including a foray into the Casillero del Diablo – the Devil’s Cellar – itself. If your budget permits, try one of their Don Melchor cabernet sauvignons: a truly special wine.

7. Cousiño Macul

Building, Winery

Barrels in the historic cellar of Vina Cousino Macul winery, Santiago, Metropolitan Region, Chile
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By Chilean standards, Cousiño Macul is as ancient as it gets – the winery was founded in 1856, and has the distinction of still being run by the founding family. It is also home to the first vines ever planted in Chile, in 1546. The original winery has been swallowed up by the urban mass of Santiago, and most of the vineyards are elsewhere. But the building, dating back to 1872, is still very much worth visiting. Ask to try the Antiguas Reservas cabernet sauvignon 2011.

8. Viu Manent


Old winemaking machinery at the Viu Manent Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile
© Philip Sharp / Alamy Stock Photo
Viu Manent, located in the Colchagua Valley, has been running for 80 years, and produces a small range of stylish wines. El Incidente – named after an eventful hot-air balloon trip taken by one of the family members – is a blend of carmenère, petit verdot and malbec. Meanwhile, the blends that make up their Secreto range are, as the name suggests, not revealed to anyone. Visits to the winery include an atmospheric trip around the vineyards in a horse-drawn carriage, along with food and wine-tasting. Try the Secreto Syrah and see if you can detect what else it contains.

9. Viña Errázuriz, Santiago


© Russell Kord / Alamy Stock Photo
Errazuriz was founded in 1870, and six generations later Eduardo Chadwick is still pioneering his family’s trade. It lies 100km (62mi) north of Santiago, amid the gentle slopes of the Aconcagua Valley, which is known for its contrast of cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers – and it produces subtle and textured wines to prove it. A visit to the winery is a luxurious experience: a tour of the modernist Don Maximiano building is followed by a descent into the historic cellars, along with the option of a four-course gourmet meal. Try the single vineyard carmenère, aged in oak barrels to give it a spicy finish.

10. Loma Larga


Wines from Chile are maybe the best on the world, we can see the vineyards at Casablanca, Valparaiso, thousands and thousands of growing grapes
© Francisco Javier Ramos Rosellon / Alamy Stock Photo
The Casablanca Valley, 50km (31mi) northwest of Santiago, was devastated by an earthquake in 2010. The burgeoning regional wine scene was badly affected, but it has bounced back with aplomb and Loma Larga is one of the wineries leading the push towards international fame. This is a relatively new operation – its first wines were produced in 2004 – yet it won Wine and Spirits’ 2011 Winery of the Year prize. Try its celebrated 2010 cabernet franc, or an earlier number if you can get your hands on it.

11. Kingston Vineyards


wine Barrels stagged up with vineyards and mountains at the back at Kingston Vineyards, Casablanca Valley, Valparaiso, Chile
© Montager Productions Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
In the early 20th century Carl John Kingston, an entrepreneurial copper miner from Michigan, USA, came to the Casablanca Valley in search of gold. Failing to find any, but with a large estate to his name, he settled as a dairy farmer. Five generations later, the Kingston Estate continues to foster the man’s entrepreneurial spirit and is making waves with its artisanal selection of fine wines. In a valley known for its whites, they pioneered red wines, and are now selling them around the world. Try the popular 2013 Alazan pinot noir, named after a beloved family horse.

12. Viña Von Siebenthal


By contrast with Chile’s many dynastic family vineyards, Viña Von Siebenthal is the result of an outsider’s dream: Mauro von Siebenthal left his career as a Swiss lawyer behind in 1998 to set up this winery in the Aconcagua Valley. More than a decade on, Von Siebenthal produces a selection of six reds, carefully developed according to the ecology of the semi-arid conditions in which the grapes are cultivated. Try the 2010 carmenère Gran Reserva, a Swiss interpretation of one of Chile’s most distinctive grapes.

13. Casa Silva

Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Winery with Rooms

Casa Silva winery and vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile
© Philip Sharp / Alamy Stock Photo
Chile’s most decorated, and undoubtedly grandest, winery is surely the Casa Silva estate, in the Colchagua Valley. It comprises an historic bodega, a boutique hotel, a gourmet restaurant and a horse-riding club complete with polo fields – that’s in addition to its vineyards, scattered over hundreds of acres around the region. Known for its carmenères, along with historic sauvignon blanc vines, Casa Silva produces a wide variety of high-quality brands. Each new line has to be personally approved by a specialist panel that debates its merits meticulously before releasing it to the market. Try the refreshing and fruity Casa Silva sauvignon blanc 2013.

14. Viña Aquitania


Such is Chile’s geography that this boutique winery, in the shadow of the Andes, can be reached by travelling on Santiago’s metro system. It has views of those towering mountains on the one side, and the city on the other. With a small team, Vinã Aquitania focuses on producing a few wines of high quality. Guides lead you meticulously through their operations and the product itself is made right before your eyes, which is not the case at some larger wineries. The opportunity to try exclusive boutique wines – at very good value for money – makes this a great stop when in Santiago. Try the Viña Aquitania chardonnay Reserva.

15. Viña Santa Cruz

Winery with Rooms

© Russell Kord / Alamy Stock Photo
This place – a creative and fun variation on wine-tourism – deserves a mention in any list of Chilean wineries. It has an indigenous museum, an astronomy center and, best of all, a cable car to carry you above the vines. Visitors board after visiting the vineyard to observe the operations, and are whisked up the mountain to a purpose-built, “indigenous village”. Here guided tours tell the story of Chile’s pre-Columbian cultures. There’s also an observatory with a collection of astronomy telescopes – ask about the nocturnal “tour through the cosmos”. It all shifts the emphasis from wine somewhat, but they do put out a very good cabernet-syrah blend, which you should try.

Jo Fernandez-Corugedo contributed additional reporting to this article.

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