Chilean Wine Experience
The region has a long viticulture history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-18th century, French wine varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were introduced. In the early 1980s, a renaissance began with the introduction of stainless steel tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. Wine exports grew very quickly as quality wine production increased. The number of wineries has grown from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005. Chile is now the fourth largest exporter of wines to the United States. The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère .
Day-1, Sunday: Santiago
Day-2, Monday: Santiago - Tierra y Fuego Vineyards
Day-3, Tuesday: Itata Valley - Quinamavida Spa - Gilmore Winery & Vineyards
Day-4, Wednesday: Gillmore Vinery - The Maule Train - Gillmore Vinery
Day-5, Thursday: Gillmore Vinery - Casa Donoso
Day-6, Friday: Casa Donoso - Casa Silva
Day-7, Saturday: Casa Silva - San Fernando - Tren del Vino - Viu Manent - Santa Cruz
Day-8, Sunday: Santa Cruz - Montes - Tarapacá
Day-9, Monday: Tarapacá - Almaviva - Santa Rita
Day-10, Tuesday: Santa Rita - Santiago
Chile Wine Experience Tour
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your wine expert guide and transferred to the Ritz Carlton Hotel. In the afternoon you will start the exploration of the city at the San Francisco Church built between 1572 and 1618. Then you will visit the "Club Hípico" horse-racing track, which is considered one of the most beautiful tracks in South America, before passing the Palacio de la Moneda, currently seat of the government and continue on to visit the Plaza de Armas where you will see important national monuments such as the Cathedral, the Main Post Office and the City Hall. You will go on to the beautifully landscaped Santa Lucia Hill where the city was founded in 1541. After crossing the Mapocho River, you will pass through different residential districts to gain a general impression of the city. You will enjoy your exclusive dinner at the Ritz Carlton, not only famous for its excellent cuisine but also for its supreme selection of fine Chilean wines. While sampling some of Chile's premium wines, you will be introduced to the Chilean art of winemaking by your wine expert tour guide. (D)
Santiago - Tierra y Fuego Vineyards
After breakfast you will be transferred to Santiago's Airport to board a short flight to Concepción where the legendary Bio Bio River meets the Pacific Ocean. Upon arrival at Concepción, your journey continues east towards Bulnes. Here in the Itata Valley - one of Chile's southernmost wine growing regions - you will be welcomed at the first of the many surprising wineries throughout your trip. Much of the vine planting is located on the eastern slopes of the coastal mountains amongst pine forests. The climate is similar to the Maule Valley but tending to be more humid. Soils are predominantly reddish-brown volcanic sand, suitable for red and white varieties.
The winemakers of the Tierra y Fuego Winery will show you their facilities and you will participate in a premium wine tasting. Organic production here include 16 different grapevine stocks; this allows you to sample the majority of all wines grown in Chile. The Swiss-owned and award winning Tierra y Fuego is the vineyard that produces the greatest variety of Chilean wines, it is the only one that has produced white wines from Malbec and Merlot grapes, they produce French cask wines of grape and also produce traditional vine stock such as Carmenère, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Semillón, Hermitage and Gewürztraminer. Lunch and dinner at the winery's homely restaurant with its exquisite culinary offer. Overnight at the colonial-style winery. (B,D,L)
Itata Valley - Quinamavida Spa - Gilmore Winery & Vineyards
In the morning you will continue your journey leaving the Itata Valley to head up north to the
distinguished Maule Valley. The Maule Valley is the most extensive winemaking region in Chile with the greater part of its vineyards in the valley and on the slopes of the coastal mountains. Many white varieties, predominantly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and many red varieties, mainly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and recently Carmenère, are produced here.
Before entering the Maule Region, you will stop for lunch at the colonialstyle Quinamavida Spa & Resort to enjoy lunch and the hot springs. Once you arrive at the idyllic Maule River Valley with its rolling green hills, you will visit one of Chile's prime boutique vineyards strategically located in the heart of the valley, home to Chile's most extensive wine growing region. The Gillmore Winery & Vineyards are a family business created in 1990 by Francisco Gillmore, in joint venture with his daughter and his son-in-law. The annual production of the Gilmore vineyard is 25,000 bottles, consisting exclusively of ultra premium red wines. Wine tasting, superb meals and overnight in the very exceptional Hotel Tabonkö that belongs to the vineyard, characterized by its gardens, lagoon, pool, private zoo, creative architecture and activities being offered. (B,L,D)
Gillmore Vinery - The Maule Train - Gillmore Vinery
After an early breakfast you will leave for the nearby train station in Talca. Today you will discover part of the genuine Chilean country life on board a very remarkable train ride alongside the beautiful Maule River Valley. The tracks between Talca and the coastal city of Constitución are some of the last ones in Chile still used by passenger trains. The laid-back convoy consisting of the engine and a single car follows the Río Maule and sometimes stops in the middle of a field to let people get off and on. It reaches Constitución after 2.½ hours. Upon arrival in Constitución, you will be driven to the beautiful beach where you can walk on the black lava sand and appreciate its high imposing rock cliffs. For lunch, you will enjoy recently caught fish in one of the small restaurants along the waterfront. After lunch your vehicle will take you back to Tabonkö Hotel,where you can enjoy the facilities of the hotel, ride a Chilean horse or relax by the pool. Dinner and overnight at Tabonkö Hotel. (B,L,D)
Gillmore Vinery - Casa Donoso
After breakfast you will visit a very particular and traditional vineyard. After a short drive you will meet a unique wine-making artisan who will introduce you to his age-old means of making a traditional wine. Using ancient tools and without any kind of technology or artificial ingredients, he produces excellent wine. It is truly a must-see! You won't find anything of this kind anywhere else. You then will continue your trip north on the Maule Wine Route. The vineyards in this area are experienced in the art of wine growing and making, with a long winemaking tradition dating back to the times of the Spanish colonization. Today, this region has over 20,000 hectares / 49.421 acres of wine plantations. You will visit the ancient Hacienda Huilquilemu with its beautiful gardens and colonial patio, now a cultural center and museum. Here you will enjoy lunch at the refined restaurant El Antojo, located near the Casa Donoso Vineyard. This restaurant specializes in typical Chilean cuisine. After lunch you continue to the Casa Donoso wine property. The vineyard is Frenchowned and one of the oldest vineyards in the country; it is blessed with good lands and produces mainly top-quality red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère and some exceptional white wines - mainly Chardonnay. Once owned by the reputable Donoso Family, Casa Donoso estate was purchased in 1989 by a group of French investors who live in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and who were amongst the first foreign investors to introduce modern technology to the wine making process in Chile. Sample some of their premium wines before dinner at the restaurant with its great atmosphere. Overnight at Casa Donoso's own colonial-style guesthouse right on the vineyard. (B,L,D)
Day-6, Friday: Casa
Donoso - Casa Silva
Today you will leave the Maule wine region and continue your wine trip to the celebrated Colchagua Wine Valley. This valley standsout as the zone par excellence for the Carmenère variety and remarkable Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The valley is home to Chile's new boutique wineries that produce almost exclusively for export. At the heart of central Chile, Colchagua combines the best of country traditions, hospitality and modern winery, setting new standards in wine production as well as an example in local development and integration through cooperation at all levels. Colchagua Valley now can be experienced aboard the historic "Tren del Vino" a steam engine train offering wine tasting and folklore entertainment while passing by the valleys most famous vineyards.Traveling up north on the Panamerican Highway, it will take a little less than 2 hours to arrive at Casa Silva near San Fernando where Emilio Bouchon arrived from Bordeaux to Chile in 1892. He was a pioneer of Colchagua Valley and responsible for the planting of high quality vineyards.
Some of the vines still in production date back to 1912. Viña Casa Silva has become widely recognized as one of the most significant producers of premium wine from Chile. It has won important international recognitions and over the last few years has been amongst the most highly awarded Chilean wineries. The wines are hand crafted, highly personalized and unique in themselves. The family's intimate knowledge of their land allows for grape separation prior to and during the harvest. The recognition of even the smallest details helps produce complex wines of excellent body and color, soft tannins and pure fruit working in harmony to allow for elegant, unique terroir wines. At Casa Silva, you will be able to sample some of their award-winning premium wines. Lunch will be served on the estate. Enjoy the rest of the day on the idyllic estate with its colonial ambiance and charm. Dinner and overnight at Casa Silva. (B,L,D)
Casa Silva - San Fernando - Tren del Vino - Viu Manent - Santa Cruz
After breakfast you will continue to the San Fernando train station to embark on a fantastic trip back in time. The nostalgic wine train - a steam engine from 1913 - starts in the city of San Fernando and the trip takes 90 minutes to the historic town Santa Cruz, passing some of Colcahgua Valley's main vineyards on the way. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to taste wines accompanied by abundant appetizers while a characteristic Chilean folklore singer entertains you with his songs and poetic compositions. From the Santa Cruz station, where a folklore group will welcome passengers, you will go on to visit the first of two exclusive vineyards of the Colchagua Valley. After only a short ride you will arrive at Viu Manent Vineyard - it played an important part in the history and tradition of Chilean wines. The company has been exclusively owned by the family since its inauguration in1935 and it is famous for its outstanding reds and enchanting whites. After tasting of some of their premium wines, lunch will be served at Viu Manent's new restaurant located in an old colonial construction called "La Llaveria." This restaurant offers a menu that reflects the exceptional gourmet tradition of the Colchagua Valley. In creating the menu, these masters of fine cuisine were inspired to find the best food pairings for the Viu Manent wines. The restaurant offers a fascinating ambience, with tables both indoors and outside, and an excellent service to make your visit an unforgettable experience. Later in the afternoon, you will visit the Colchagua Museum, which is around the corner of your hotel. It is the biggest private collection in South America, exhibiting paleontological, archaeological, pre- Colombian and colonial Spanish artifacts. Apart from these samples, it includes thematic pavilions about the modernity, history, and development of arms, Huaso riding gears, coaches and carriages, agricultural machinery and pavilions on railways and automobiles. Overnight and dinner at the colonial-style Hotel Plaza Santa Cruz. (B,L,D)
Day-8, Sunday: Santa
Cruz - Montes - Tarapacá
After breakfast, you will leave for the reputed Montes Vineyard. After sampling Montes first-rate premium wines you will explore local flora on the vineyard's estate; during your hike you will be able to distinguish more than a hundred varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers, always accompanied by the spectacular view of the Colchagua Valley. A delicious lunch will be served on the vineyards lookout. Your trip then continues up north on the Panamerican Highway. Close to Santiago, in the Maipo Valley, you will visit the Tarapacá Vineyard and Winery. The small hotel with its beautiful park is one of the very special places in Chile. Viña Tarapacá Ex Zavala S.A. is one of the most traditional and experienced wineries in Chile. The establishment of the first vineyards, on the foothills of the renowned Maipo Valley, dates back to 1874. Today, the winery consists of 850 planted hectares with fine grape varieties designated to the production of top quality wines. In recent years, efforts have been focused on establishing non-traditional varieties, such as Mourvedre, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Malbec, and others, with excellent results, as the wines themselves prove. First-class wine tasting and dinner at the vineyard. For the remainder of the day, enjoy the beautiful setting of the hotel and its facilities. Casa Tarapacá has a swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, games room and a golf course. Dinner and overnight at Casa Tarapacá. (B,L,D)
Tarapacá - Almaviva - Santa Rita
After breakfast you will leave to visit another of Chile's most famous wineries, Almaviva. This is an out of the ordinary joint project of Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. Following our sampling of this exceptional wine, we will continue our trip to nearby Casa Real at Santa Rita Vineyard, on the outskirts of Santiago but still in the Maipo Valley, world-renowned for its Cabernets. Don Domingo Fernández, a distinguished politician, founded Viña Santa Rita in 1880 and promoted the introduction of the finest French vine stocks. Viña Santa Rita then established itself as a modern wine producing enterprise. At the same time, it became known as an important cultural, political, and spiritual center. You will visit the Santa Rita property and sample some of the premium wines and enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant Doña Paula. Tonight you will stay at the Casa Real. Built in the 1880s, the Casa Real has been converted into a luxury country hotel. The large house is kept in a Pompeian style; combining old and modern features. Tear lamps, heaters, pictures, tapestry and armoires are combined in a contemporary decoration, yet the classic style is not abandoned. The trip made by one of the restorers of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel from Florence, Italy to recover this temple was not in vain. Here you will enjoy a delicious farewell dinner prepared by the excellent chef. (B,L,D)
Santa Rita - Santiago
Time allowing, depending on you onward travel connections, enjoy the morning at Casa Real at Santa Rita's Vineyard. Transfer to Santiago in due time. End of a spectacular Chilean wine adventure! (B)
Other Chile ToursMagic of Chile
Chile Nature Tour
Self Drive Wine Tour
Chile Wine Experience
Torres del Paine Trek
Huilliche Cultural Trek
Skorpios Cruise Peuro Montt
Atacama Easter Islands Tour
Adventurous Andean Crossing
|Best time||September to March|
All of these trips are arranged on a private basis. Costs vary based on the number of people.
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Accommodation at selected hotels including breakfast.
All meals as specified on the itinerary.
Transfers, tours and excursions as per itinerary with local English speaking guides.
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