Easily accessible from Santiago, Chile’s Central Valley is a popular stop on many itineraries as a day trip or for a longer stay at one of the regions’ vineyards or hacienda-style hotels.
Central Valley & Wineries holidays can take you on a journey of discovery through one of the most popular New World wine producing regions: so whether you just enjoy the odd tipple or fancy yourself a true connoisseur, it’s well worth a stop to see where some of the United Kingdom’s favourite wines are produced.
Chilean wines are described as New World, but the vines grown here have historic origins. Grape vines were first planted in the country in 1550, shortly after the Spanish conquistadors arrived on Chilean shores. A long history of winemaking followed, with Chile starting wine production more than a century before South Africa and some 200 years before California.
When French grape varieties were introduced in the mid-19th century, Chilean wines grew to become the most popular wines produced today. The setting of the Central Valley is quite special and contributes to the excellent variety of wines produced in the region, maintaining a steady climate and protecting the vines from pests, disease and adverse weather.
One of the most popular places to stay is within the Maipo Valley, south of Santiago and in easy reach of the city.
Here wines are produced in traditional vineyards, where you can stay in historic colonial-style haciendas. Further south, the Colchagua Valley turns out an impressive choice of very fine wines from vineyards that date back to the 17th century; one of the most atmospheric ways to explore this valley is on board the Tren del Vino, a traditional steam locomotive which wends its way around the wineries of the valley with tastings and snacks.
To the west, the Casablanca Valley is famous for its crisp white wines, where producers employ the most modern techniques.