Chilean Vineyards to visit!

My first post on the forums here!

My partner and I are travelling to Chile this Easter for a friend’s wedding and will visit many vineyards whilst we are there. I wonder whether anyone else has visited before and whether they visited a particular vineyard of interest?

Or maybe you could suggest one of your favourite Chilean wines and we’ll investigate the actual vineyard for you!


I have just joined the community and have seen your entry on wineries to visit in Chile. My wife and I went to Chile in Feb to attend a relative’s wedding in Viña del Mar (great fun). Villard winery near Casablanca was recommended by another guest, a Frenchman who had visited a number of the wineries. We had a great visit there, entertained by the proprietor Thierry Villard and his wife. I particularly liked the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir. Good website, must book in advance. TWS stocks the Chardonnay.

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Where abouts in Chile will you be staying? It’s a big country :slight_smile:

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I might be wrong - but I think the original post is from a year ago, so I assume the trip had already happened… Be nice if @mbetteridge reveals all :blush:

Oh didn’t spot that! Well in case it’s useful to others, here is a quick summary of the ones I’ve visited:

  • Casas del Bosque, Casablanca. Interesting tour, friendly guide. Tasting was nicely presented and the wines were tasty. They have a restaurant, we didn’t eat there though, but it’s reportedly quite good.
  • Bodegas RE, Casablanca. Did the tasting but not the tour. They make rather eclectic blends that are fun to try. Tasting was nicely presented.
  • Emiliana, Casablanca. Nice setting but we found everything else to be rather lacklustre. No winemaking facilities on site.
  • Kingston Family Vineyards, Casablanca. Feels like a California winery dropped into Chile. All the staff are Americans, and so were all the other visitors whilst we were there. Strange experience… and not cheap.
  • Loma Larga, Casablanca. Friendly and knowledgable tour guide, winemaking facilities on site in a rather cool building. Tasty wines.
  • Errazuriz, Aconcagua. Historic vineyard with beautiful surroundings. Tour and tasting were very personal.
  • Flaherty, Aconcagua. Boutique winery run by a lovely couple Ed & Jen. Definitely off the beaten track compared to the larger scale operations in the area. We enjoyed our visit very much.
  • El Escorial, Aconcagua. Quite a few interesting and experimental wines coming from this producer. Tour and tasting were good, wish they had a better shop though.
  • Viña Peumayen, Aconcagua. About as personal as a tour can get, basically just wandering around with the delightful owner for a couple of hours (note: he only speaks Spanish)
  • Viña von Siebenthal, Aconcagua. Nice setting, private tours… slightly difficult to get a booking (and make sure you do, don’t just turn up!). Great wines and our tour guide was happy to throw in a couple of free bottles and a discount at the shop.
  • Concha y Toro, Santiago. Very famous producer. The experience is very touristy… large groups herded through constantly, a few gimmicks along the way. Not bad if that’s your type of thing.
  • Santa Rita, Santiago. Also very tourist driven, but the historic grounds there are very picturesque, so certainly make up for that.

I stayed one night in a cottage Villa Miramar at the vineyard at Casa Marin. It was beautiful and probably best night of my 4 week tour of South America that included Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Goodness - I’d totally forgotten about this thread!

Well like @_nj we visited many vineyards, but it seems we went to different areas. We started in Talca (Maule region). This area, although a bustling down, is not particularly touristy, especially to Westerners. This is due in part to it being the epicentre of the devastating 2010 earthquake that struck Chile. The town is still in disrepair and it has had an impact on the smaller, boutique vineyards that relied on tourism. Very few of the vineyards had English speakers so my partner had to learn a lot about wine in Spanish very quickly. We visited:

  • Balduzzi - lovely staff and entry level wine was good for the price, as Chilean wine can be, but nothing memorable. We have one of their premium wines in our cellar for ageing.

  • Gillmore - lovely Rose that was on offer - 100% Syrah - refreshing, subtle and dry. More old world than new world in many ways. They are part of VIGNO producing Carignan from dry farmed old vines. They’re red were very jammy, lots of baked fruit and very bold, but with smooth tannins.

We later cycled around the east of the city essentially knocking on the doors of several vineyards. As it was out of season and also less touristy than it once was we didn’t really manage to taste much or visit anywhere, however we had a LOVELY tour at Corral Victoria which is sort of the hub of the area with a very good wine shop. Their wine (mainly carmenere) wasn’t great, but it was worth a visit to taste a range of wines, buy some more bottles and visit their website. We also managed an unofficial tour of Valle Frio which, from what we could understand, is a large bulk producer of entry level wines.

On our way back North we stopped off at the legendary Miguel Torres and had a fantastic lunch but also had an amazing tasting of a variety of their wines from across the country. I no longer have my notes to hand (I started replying a while ago when I did have them, but have now misplaced them!), but their mid-range offer was their most exciting and best value for money - as is often the way with Chilean wines. Their Sav Blanc in particular.

Santa Cruz is much more geared towards wine tourism (and the prices of hotels reflect this!).

We visited:

*Laposottle/Clos Aplta. Legendary, needs little introduction. Wines live up to the hype. My partner actually managed to convince my friends and family to group together to buy me 3 bottles of the 2005 Clos Apalta, of which we have two left.
*Vina Montes - lovely restaurant =- best steak my partner has ever eaten. Wine was good, again mid-range (up tp £15) bottles were good.
*Neyen - lovely vineyard, great tour and why I’ve been reminded to reply to this thread as I’m currently drinking their 2013 purchased from The Wine Society. They produce only one range a year ‘spirit of Apalta’ or ‘Espiritu de Apalta’ which is a red blend of carmenere and cab sav from old vines. We had the 2011 and the 2013 - I preferred the 2011 when we were there - it was bolder and had more liquorice notes. A much more high end product (not as much as clos aplta though!)
*Vina MontGras - had a wonderful tasting and a mini tour with an excellent tour guide/sommelier who really encouraged us to discuss what we were sensing in each wine. Good entry level and mid range wines from their site in Santa Cruz but also from other sites across Chile. From memory their single lot Sauvignon Blanc was phenomenal and I have bottle in the rack.
*Laura Hartwig - my favourite winery in terms of the wines produced. An entry to mid range single varietal Cabernet Franc and Cab Sav was stunning and great value for money.

Apologies for a long winded and disjointed post - hope this is useful and feel free to ask anything :slight_smile:


Hope it’s OK to re-ignite this thread again. We’re just finishing up another trip to Chile, so I have a few more wineries / vineyards to add to the list (including 3 which overlap with @mbetteridge !)

In Casablanca we only visited a single vineyard this year:

  • Indomita. This is a fairly large scale producer. Beautify setting with fantastic views over the valley. We dined at the restaurant, everyone loved it. Only detraction for some might be this is winery is clearly a popular destination for Santiago based tourists, so if you’re after more “boutique" wineries there are better options.

We went down to Santa Cruz (Colchagua) for a few days… extremely hot at this time of the year, be warned!

  • Lapostolle / Clos Apalta winery. We were fortunate to be the only ones booked onto the tour at the slot we opted for, so it was essentially a private tour. Great views over the valley. The guide was very thorough and gave great insights into the winemaking process. Tasting in the barrel room on the bottom floor was a highlight. First time I’ve seen a winery use Zalto glasses too.
  • Laura Hartwig. Fairly low scale operation. The guide was fantastic. Tasty wines too. My only real criticism is that there wasn’t a huge amount of substance to the tour - standing at the end of a line of tanks and then at the end of a line of barrels right next door was pretty much the limit of the “walk around” part.
  • Montes. I was a bit disappointed with this tour. Starting off at the shop put a bit of sour taste in my mouth when I saw the rip-off prices had on their various icon wines (80,000CLP / ~£80 for bottle of Purple Angel? No thanks!). The tour seemed a little rushed and it certainly had a more touristy air to it, including being guided back into the shop at the end. We didn’t dine at the restaurant, so I can’t comment on that, though I’ve heard good things - sounds like @mbetteridge had a good experience :slight_smile:
  • Viu Manent. Very much the opposite of our experience at Montes, the tour was super relaxed. Only ones on the tour, so essentially private. At the tasting the wines were opened there and then, and after the initial tasting the guide left us to evaluate and enjoy the wines for as long as we liked. They also allowed us to take one of the bottles over to the restaurant to enjoy with lunch. If you dine there you’ll get 20% off in the shop as well.

Then up in San Felipe (Aconcagua) for a few days we visited:

  • Viña San Esteban. Probably better known by their “In Situ” line. Beautiful views of the Andes from this location. The guide was fantastic. They have quite extensive facilities here, so plenty to see. Their wines are on the more budget side of things for the most part, but certainly pleasant.
  • Flaherty. Visited in previous years, so only dropped in for a tasting and to buy some bottles. Very accommodating as always.

On our next visit we’re hoping to head further south (Maule or Itata).

As a general comment on The Wine Society / Chile: it would be great to see more wines from smaller scale producers: the likes of Concha y Toro, Undurraga and De Martino are hardly short of representation in the UK. There are an incredible number of small producers in Chile that create fantastic wines and may well suffer with the current social and economic climate in the country.


This fills me with so much joy!! I plan to go back in the next 18-24 months so will try out some of these :slight_smile:

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Hi _nj, we are planning to be in and around Santiago for about 7 days next Feb and are planning some wine excursions, so your list is great.

One question, how did you travel around, did you have a hire car or arrange for a taxi/driver?


I can possibly contribute but how far afield from Santiago do you envisage travelling ?

Cousino Macul is excellent, extremely old, but best of all, accessible on the (terrific) Santiago metro system with a short walk at the end


Indeed, it does somewhat depend on where you’re visiting.

To give a basic run down, if you’re based in Santiago there are 4 main options:

  • excursions via a tour company - they normally will do hotel pick ups and take you to 2-3 vineyards either in Casablanca, Aconcagua or Maipo. They will have pre-arranged bookings for the tours and tastings… so you’ll likely pay 1 fixed price for all the visits and travel. Keep in mind there will be others in the group. This is the most convenient option but probably costs the most
  • hire car - plenty of companies operate at Santiago airport, including well known international ones. You’d want to arrange this in advance if it’s what you opt for. Make sure you have parking available. And be aware of your surroundings if you drive in and around Santiago (I can go into more detail if wanted).
  • car sharing - main one is Awto, they operate in Santiago and Valparaiso + Vina del Mar. Awto works very similar to Zip Car in the UK. You can either pick up a car and drive it for as long as you like, paying per minute - but you have to end the trip in an Awto Zone (these tend to cover much of the cities, so usually not an issue - but you definitely cannot end the trip at a vineyard in the middle of nowhere). Awto also offer Awto Dias (Awto Days), where you can pick up a car and keep the car for 1, 3, 5, etc, days, at a much better price than paying per minute. Note: I could install the app on my Android phone, but my parter could not on iOS because it wasn’t available on UK iTunes. Beyond that, you will need to submit proof of driving license, passport + entry receipt to Awto, and they do not accept foreign credit cards, only debit cards to top up a pre-paid Awto credit are permitted. This can all take a bit of time to get sorted, so may not be your best bet if you’re only there for 7 days.
  • taxi - Uber works well in Chile. I’d be slightly cautious to recommend the normal taxis in Santiago. Keep in mind that if you end up at a vineyard, it may be harder to do the return journey, depending on where you are. People at the vineyard can usually help arrange a taxi if necessary, or make friends with your taxi driver on the way out - often they’re happy to pick you back up at an arranged time.

plus, when we went - about 7 years ago now, they also wanted an International driving licence - asked for when we entered the country from Argentina - which you have to buy from a post office in UK. Maybe it’s different now, but worth checking, and if so which one of the 2 versions.

I visited a while ago (Dec 2016) but I can highly recommend Macul from that excursion!

I’d recommend getting out of the city if you want to visit a handful of wineries. Casablanca is supposed to an exceptional region for wine tourism, and an easy drive from Santiago. I was in Santa Cruz in April 2019 and that was probably one of the best wine holidays I’ve ever done.

Yeah, that’s definitely worth checking. I’ve been driving out there recently without one, but I expect I was in the wrong.

By the way, on our last visit we went to a few more vineyards to give brief reviews for:

In Aconcagua:

  • Sanchez de Loria - this is a very old vineyard, still with a bunch of old machinery in use, and old ways of working. The wine is fairly simple, but it’s worth visiting just for the experience. The owner gave us the tour - he only speaks Spanish.
  • La JoDa - Daniela and Jorge make Pet Nat from various grapes, and a Carmenere. They’re not easy to get to (location is very much off the beaten track), but well worth a visit - they’re really lovely and accommodating. The Pet Nat served on ice is a beautiful thing in the Chilean summer heat
  • Narbona - location isn’t near the other wineries/vineyards in Aconcagua, so may not be on most itineraries. We had a really great time there, plenty of wine to taste, pizzas made fresh, and great talk with Pedro. They have wood cabins that you can stay in if you’re interested. Similar to La JoDa, they’re quite off the beaten track.

We also attended the Descorchados event at the Mandorin Oriental hotel in Santiago in December 2022, very much recommended - the ticket price is not cheap, but the wine and food selection is extremely impressive.

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Hi, we’re not sure yet but probably as far as the coast, possibly staying on a vineyard for a night or two

That’s excellent; as in Casablanca and San Antonio there are some splendid winery destinations.

Maipo - if you go to Cousino Macul’s old winery (production has moved away) and book a tasting it’s very generous. El Principal also is a good visit with very very good wines, and they take you up into the foothills to look at the vineyards with excellent views. I personally wouldn’t bother with Concha Y Toro

Isla de Maipo- the big outfit here is Unduragga (well patronised by TWS), but the tour is lightweight and none of the fruit is grown within the old estate, but the shop has a good range on sale if that’s what you’re after.

Casablanca - my pick would be Emiliana (the world’s largest organic wine producer) and the tour and tasting is excellent. Also on the list would be Casas del Bosque - if you were able to reserve a night or two at their Casa Mirador Casa Mirador it would be awesome; and Re

near the coast (San Antonio) you’ll be rewarded by checking out Casa Marin (best PN I had in Chile), they also have a property high in the hills to the east above their vineyards with views of the ocean (if it’s not misty as it often is…) where you can go and take a bottle and enjoy - But need to book ahead, and Matetic which welcomes walk-ins.

No doubt you can follow up by looking at their respective websites.


I was interested to read your posts. You have obviously travelled extensively in Chile, know it well and have visited many wineries.

Regarding your remarks about large/small companies, we work with a few small companies including Matetic, Ignacio Recabarren, Koyle and occasionally Villard. Historically we have worked with Clos des Fous, Casa Marin, Kingston, Domus, El Principal, Haras de Pirque, Ventolera, Clava, Viña Leyda (when a small independent company), Gandolini, Tamaya, Quintay and Falernia. I have tasted many others which, for me, have not been of sufficient quality to purchase. There are a couple more I am considering.

I buy simply on the grounds of quality and have found a few good smaller wineries. I think Koyle are outstanding. However many of the best wines I have tasted in Chile come from Concha y Toro and Undurraga.

Your comments set me thinking about the relationship of size to quality and how it varies from country to country. At The Wine Society we often find our best suppliers are a similar size to us or smaller, where the value of our business matters more to them than it would do to a bigger company, but that is not always the case. There are some good big companies in New Zealand and Australia but few in France. In Burgundy generally the best wines come from small domaines. After a couple of years in charge of Burgundy I sacked our two biggest suppliers and bought much more from small domaines. However even in Burgundy there are good larger producers like Jadot, Bouchard Père who have extensive holdings of vineyards.

I have often wondered why there are, in my opinion, few good smaller wineries in Chile. I am not sure I know but I may have identified four factors that play an important role.

1 Costs

I learnt when a top wine company based in Europe bought a Chilean medium sized bodega they were surprised by the costs in Chile which were much higher than in Europe. It was partly to do with the extensive subsidies offered in Europe which are not available in Chile. Talking to a few owners of small wine companies in Chile its very hard to make money or even survive. The extra financial resources of larger companies is helpful in this respect.

2 Attention to detail in the vineyard less apparent in small producers in Chile

I see one of the great reasons for the success of small domaines in Burgundy is the attention to detail, especially in the vineyard. The scale is often so small that owners and a few hired hands are hands on and carry out all the viticulture including the pruning, debudding, ploughing etc as well as winemaking, cellar work, sales etc. Because the wines sell for high prices as little as 4 hectares can be sufficient to make a good living. The fine tuning in the vineyards where each vine is pruned according to its vigour makes a massive difference. The quality of the fruit is paramount. But in Chile even small producers have to have much more land as selling prices are generally much lower so I think more work is subcontracted. Perhaps I am wrong but I rarely see the same type of hands on owners in the vineyard in small companies in Chile than one sees in Burgundy. Cristobal Undurraga of Koyle is an exception and spends a lot of time in the vineyard, which is why his wines are so good.

Few large companies are able to simultaneously manage mass production, to make large volumes of high quality brands, and batch processes, necessary for small volumes of top quality wines. Penfolds is one and Concha y Toro is another. That is the challenge for big companies.

The wine business is very capital intensive and also necessitates many different skillsets and this may be easier for larger companies. It takes a lot of money and analysis to know how and where to plant, choose a trellising system and tend a vineyard, invest in winemaking equipment used just once a year, finance maturing stock, bottle wine and sell it. Few are able to do all aspects successfully. Hence some grow grapes and sell them, others buy grapes and make wine, some selling their wine in bulk according to their abilities. Concha produce roughly half their wine from their own vineyards and half is bought in, mostly as grapes I think. It is probably easier for well run large companies to benefit from economies of scale, invest and hire good people than small producers where the owner, and those who inherit the property, have to be a truly exceptional people, to manage everything well and over succeeding generations.

3 Small family firms inherit less good vineyards than in Europe

There are very few really good older vineyards in Chile. So in Chile few small family producers have inherited wonderful old vineyards from their parents or antecedents and few have the resources to plant high quality new ones. This contrasts with say Burgundy where a small domaine may have inherited superb 60 year old vineyards based on 800 years of empiricism.

The exceptions include some 70-80 year unirrigated old cabernet and carmenère vines in the western part of the Apalta horseshoe planted to a good density of 5500 vines/ha on maicillo soils with sufficient water availability, and some of the unirrigated bush vines planted in the 1950s such as carignan in Maule and cinsault in Itata. There a few plots of cabernet from the 1950s? at Alto Jahuel,Maipo, from which were made santa Rita’s Casa Real and Carmen’s Gold Reserve.The cuttings brought back to Chile from France in the 1860/70s included a lot of good cabernet sauvignon, the merlot turned out to be carmenère but the selections of semillon was less good. What people thought was sauvignon blanc turned out to be the inferior sauvignonasse or tocai friulano.

A large majority of the best vineyards are those that have been planted in the last 20-30 years based on soil analysis, new high quality plant material, rootstocks and drip irrigation. The latter has allowed cool, south facing slopes with poorer soils to be planted with the potential for lower yields of higher quality grapes. Previously flood irrigation necessitated slopes with less than a two or three per cent slopes and so some vineyards were on the richer soil of the flat valley floors which produced high yields of good average quality. That has required a phenomenal amount of capital, research and trial and error to know which rootstocks and varieties to plant where, how to manage the vineyard etc. The big companies have the resources to do this and the smaller ones find it more difficult

4 Ability to finance applied research and learn from it is greater in large companies

Chile’s history of quality wine is recent and there is much to learn and improve as mentioned above regarding planting new vineyards. The same is true regarding vinification. There are so many permutations to explore. Those with an appetite to learn, and the ability to finance research and experiments, where some will succeed and others fail, I think are making the best wines. The range and scale of larger companies means they can often learn more. Concha y Toro’s ability to learn is astonishing.

For such a big company Concha have a remarkable organisation of their production which enables them to keep many thousands of lots of wine apart. They separate parts of a vineyard, date of picking, types of vinification, types of tank, cooperage and age of barrels etc. Each year they are experimenting. They taste and learn so much about quality and character because they can compare and contrast. This open mindedness and capacity and wish to learn sets them apart. The applied research is necessary when making wine from new areas such as Casablanca, Leyda, Limarí and new grape varieties.

This allows them to grade by quality into different ranges, declassifying wines that do not make a certain quality level to the next tier down. It also allows them to blend which you cannot do if the good is lumped together with the bad in the same tank. Blending is just a tool. Depending on motivation it can done for good or for ill. At Concha it’s a technique to improve your wines. After 800 years of experience you know where the best sites are such as in Burgundy which produce complete, balanced wines. In Chile, when your history and experience is less extensive, you may have one wine with a great perfume but less good structure, another with less aroma but fine tannins etc and by blending them you get a much better wine. I am lucky to be able to taste and blend such wines with Concha’s superb winemakers Ignacio Recabarren, Marcelo Papa and Lorena Mora.