Like wines? Santiago is the right place for wine lovers. If you go to the city dont forget to spend a couple of days touring the wineards.
The most famous of them is Concha Y Toro. There you are treated with some wine tasting as well as some spectacular views from the largest wine exporter in Chile.
Dont take the expensive tours offered at the hotel, they can charge you around $ 50 for just a short run to the wineries. If you speak some spanish, try any cab in the street and negociate a trip do Concha Y Toro.
Concha y Toro is a vineyard worth visting during your Santiago stay. There are daily tours in English that take you round the original bodega, the vineyards, oak barrels and huge stainless steel vats and the winetasting with your purchased signature glass. Concha Y Toro was founded by Don Melcho Concha Y Toro in 1883 and was the very first vineyard to trade on the New York Stock Exchange in 1994. The salesrooms have a wide range of wines from the winery and you can visit the restaurant for more wine and its yummy hors d'oeuvres.
It cost me around 3000 CLP for the tour (October 2007)
Wine is an important export for Chile, who exports 80% of their wine around the globe. Concha y Toro puts on an excellent informative tour of their facilities at Pirque. Advance reservations are required with a min. of four days before your visit to the Winery.
Concha y Toro featurs the following wines:
· Cabernet Sauvignon
· Sauvignon Blanc
There are many vineyards and wineries aound Santiago but if you are short of time a visit to Concha y Toro is probably the best. It is definitely set up for tourists but the tour of the grounds and cellars including tasting I found extremely interesting. The tour ends in the cellars of the famous Casillero del Diablo with the legend of del Diablo.
The vineyard in Pirque near Santiago was founded by Don Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro and his wife, Emiliana Subercaseaux, in 1883. He introduced grape varieties from Bordeaux in France. In 1923 the company became stock-listed and world exports began in 1933
Open from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. Reservations for tours are required prior to visit. General entry is CL$8.000.
Concha Y Toro Winery is set in beautiful grounds. Originally started by Don Melchor, his mansion is still there. It is a beautiful building, but unfortunately it is not open to the public.
We are treated to a tasting of the Trio series today and the first wine is a fruity white. Wine glass in hand we are taken on a guided walk through the grounds, past the manor house and around the lake. The gardens really are lovely and peaceful with fine-looking trees, pretty roses, water lilies on the pond and many delightful birds including egrets, ducks and geese with cute little babies. In the deep blue sky above, an eagle circles gracefully. We move on to the vineyards. In England Chilean wine is known to be the purest and cleanest and the one least likely to produce a hangover. One of the main reasons for this is that there are no diseases here, hence they need no chemicals. The insects which plague European, Californian and Australian vineyards have not reached Chile. The Maipo Valley is protected to the east by the Andes and the west by the Pacific, so hopefully they will manage to keep the infection at bay. Row upon row of vines reach far into the distance; this is the Don Melchor variety – top quality wine. At the end of each row, a rose bush acts as an early warning sign: roses show an indication of disease much sooner than vines.
The cellars are dark and dingy; they are real working storage crypts of hundreds of barrels of wine. The area is huge, damp and cold. We are told how only new barrels are used for the Don Melchor range and that French oak is better than American oak. In one corner is the notorious Castillera Del Diablo – the Devil’s Cellar. Legend has it that Don Melchor was tired of his bottles going missing during the night and in order to keep thieves out, he invented a tale about the devil himself taking refuge in the vault. It worked and the myth stuck. Now a wine has been named after the story, and very nice it is too. .
The Concha y Toro Vineyard is one of the most important historical vineyards in Chile. It is possible to visit the vineyard and take a tour which includes a visit of the grounds to see the vineyards, the Casona, the cellars and a wine tasting session to finish off.
There is an entrance fee of $7,000 pesos per person payable and guided tours can be taken in Spanish or English. If you would like to take a tour you must make a reservation in advance.
Open Monday to Sunday 10am - 5pm.