Vineyards Central Chile

If you love wine then you must visit one or more of Chile’s 70 vineyards along an 800 mile stretch in the center of the country. This gallery gives you a tour of Latin America’s largest and a boutique winery voted as the best for two years in a row.

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Central Chile Wine Region Composite of Five Photos

After sinking into a cushioned lawn chair with the sun warming my face, I took my first sip of a Carménère. It’s a deep red wine with 19th century French origins but now predominately grown in Chile. It is delightful. This introduction occurred in the Casablanca Valley. The Andes and coastal mountains provide a cool, humid climate that is ideal for whites. The Casa del Bosque winery is located half way along Route 68, well named for the scenic 68 miles between Santiago and Valparaíso. Also consider visiting Concha y Toro, Latin America’s largest wine producer. Both wineries offer cellar tours, tastings and gourmet food among lush vineyards and romantic settings. For wine lovers, it is the perfect afternoon.

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1 Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

Viña Casas del Bosque is a boutique vineyard in Central Chile. It was founded in 1993 by Juan Cuneo Solari and is located about 44 miles from Santiago and 19 miles from Valparaíso. They hand pick all of their grapes and produce about 90,000 cases a year. Wine varieties include sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, Riesling, pinot noir and Syrah. They also grow carménère and cabernet sauvignon grapes in their vineyards in the Rapel and Maipo Valleys.

F-830 1560 Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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2 Rows of Vines at Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

Central Chile tends to be very hot during their summer but not in parts of the Aconcagua Region like the Casablanca Valley. Despite having only about 20 inches of rainfall a year, they benefit from cold waters off of the Pacific Coast called the Humboldt current. This creates chilly, Mediterranean-style temperatures and a morning fog. They are highly dependent on wind generators to protect against frost and irrigation from underground wells.

F-830 1560 Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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3 Outdoor Loungers at Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

Casas del Bosque offers lots more than a quick tour, tasting and then a shuffle towards the gift shop. For starters, you can make your own wine. From March 15 through April 30 you can be part of a harvesting team. In July and August you can partake in the pruning. And from October to April you can enjoy a meal at their Tanino Restaurant or arrange for a picnic on the estate. My favorite was sunning in these cushioned chairs next to the vineyards while listening to the birds, smelling the fresh Chilean air and sipping a beautiful wine.

F-830 1560 Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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4 White Grapes Growing at Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

These delicate young white grapes are growing in Chile’s Casablanca Valley, a relatively small and new area for wine production. The first vines were planted in 1983 followed by production beginning in 1989. Now about 3,500 acres are devoted to wine. The Casas del Bosque vineyard’s 573 acres represents more than 16% of that land. They are located within Casablanca, a small town of about 22,000 residents.

F-830 1560 Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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5 Barrique Barrels at Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

Casas del Bosque translates to “forest houses” so you would assume the vineyard knows a lot about wood. Their barrels in the barrique aging cellar are constructed from French oak. The specific material and degree of toasting depends on the wine inside. Also known as a Bordeaux barrel, they typically contain about 59 gallons of wine. This is small relative to other barrel types used by vineyards.

F-830 1560 Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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6 Tasting Room at Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

The tasting room at Casas del Bosque is elegantly appointed with mood lighting … the perfect setting to sample the vineyard’s wines. They offer two options: The Premium or the Aromas Wine Tour. Both are delicious values for the money. My highlight was being introduced to their Reserva Carménère. This wonderful red grape began in Bordeaux, France, but is now primarily produced in Chile’s Central Valley. Its deep, rich flavor is an incredible bargain in the United States because it sells for about $14 yet rivals wines retailing above $50.

F-830 1560, Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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7 Wine Bottles at Casas del Bosque Vineyard in Casablanca, Chile

The Casas del Bosque Vineyard specializes in white wines, especially sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. They consistently produce vintages that rate over 90 out of a score of 100. They were named as the “Best Chilean Wine Producer” in 2013 and 2014 at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London.

F-830 1560, Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
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8 Casona Summer Residence at Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro was a prominent 19th century businessman and Chilean senator who represented Santiago. In 1875, he began constructing a summer residence he called Casona. A few years later while traveling in France he collected some vine cuttings. In 1882, when he planted them in the fertile soil of the Maipo Valley next to this home, he became the founder of a vineyard that bears his name: Concha y Toro. Today the company is Latin America’s largest wine producer.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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9 Entrance of Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

About 17 miles south of Santiago is the small town of Pirque and the original vineyard of Viña Concha y Toro. Since it was founded in 1882, it has grown into a billion dollar company, the largest of Chile’s 70 wineries and an exporter to over 130 countries. Viña Concha also has the distinction of being the first wine producer traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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10 Garden Trellis at Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

An enjoyable half-day excursion from Santiago is to visit the Viña Concha y Toro vineyard. Your guided tour begins by passing beneath this trellis in a magnificent garden. Next you will see the founder’s 19th century summer residence, learn about the different varieties of grapes, walk along the scenic original vineyard and explore the legendary cellar. Your final reward is the wine tasting. Superb! It is a terrific experience regardless if you are a sommelier or a vino neophyte.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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11 Wine Glasses at Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

I love wine! So visiting one of my favorite vineyards is a special treat. The best part is the tasting. It is a great way to savor an old friend while treating my palate to unfamiliar ones. Viña Concha y Toro markets five brands, ranging from their premium Don Melchor to their flagship cabernet Casillero del Diablo. These glasses are lined up along a terrace counter for the sampling of white wines. The reds are poured at the end of the tour along with pairings of cheese.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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12 Devil’s Cellar at Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

In the late 19th century, Concha y Toro’s founder had an underground stone cellar built for the aging of his best wines. After suffering repeated shortages, he fabricated the rumor about the devil living in the deep, dark cave. Fear spread and the stealing stopped. Since then, this has been known as Casillero del Diablo or Cellar of the Devil.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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13 Grapes on Vine at Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

Since the Spanish conquistadors introduced wine to Chileans in the mid-16th century, vineyards have boomed along an 800 mile stretch. Collectively they grow 25 varieties of grapes. The most productive area is the Central Valley Region and especially the Maipo Valley just south of Santiago. The climate and soil are perfect for cabernet sauvignons.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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14 Vineyard Keeper at Concha y Toro Vineyard in Pirque, Chile

The most important job among the 3,600 employees at Concha y Toro is arguably the master vineyard keeper who daily monitors the grapes. This gentleman is inspecting the vines in the historic Cajón del Maipo river valley where the company began. Viña Concha y Toro now owns over 23,000 acres of vineyards in five Chilean regions plus land in Argentina.

Av. Concha Y Toro 2055, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
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