Any vacation to Chile is not complete without exploring the aromas and flavors that flow out of the Chilean wine valleys. The Spanish first established the vineyards in Chile back in the mid-16th century, and since then the wine regions have expanded and flourished serving many international markets such as the United States and Europe.
As well as being one of the largest and best wine producers in the world, the wine regions of Chile are some of the most beautiful with such varied landscapes surrounding them.
With the Pacific coastline to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east, Patagonia to the south and the Atacama Desert to the north; Chile’s wine regions are truly breath-taking and therefore fit in easily around your Chile travel itinerary. Enjoy discovering and exploring the wonderful varieties of Chilean wine in our guide to the top 5 wine regions in Chile!
♦ Colchagua Valley
The Rapel Valley in Chile’s central valley is home to the Colchagua Valley which has become more well known than the region it is contained within. Located about 110 miles south of Santiago and on the southerly border of the Rapel Valley is Colchagua Valley which is recognized as one of the best wine regions in Chile and is great to explore during your vacation in Chile!
Known for its full-bodied Carménère, Syrah and Malbec, it is not uncommon to find the Colchagua Valley feature regularly on the world’s leading lists of wines.
The cool Pacific Ocean breezes transformed this formerly quiet valley into the most important new red wine regions with leading wineries such as Casa Lapostolle and Montes producing intense and aroma filled wines.
♦ Maipo Valley
Perhaps Chile’s most historic region, some of the grape plantings in the Maipo Valley date back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors in Chile. It wasn’t until the importation of Bordeaux grapes from France in the 19th Century that the region really began to make a name for itself and really take shape. Today, it is home to some of the best Cabernet-based wines in the world with wineries such as Concha y Toro’s Don Melchor and Santa Rita’s Casa Real leading the way.
As the closest wine region to the city of Santiago the vineyards stretch eastward from Chile’s capital to the mighty Andes Mountains making the valley the perfect way to spend the day or weekend exploring Chile’s best Cabernet wines.
The interesting wine region of Alto Maipo rises from the base of the Andean mountains up to heights of 2,600ft. above sea level. In the morning the sun, has to scale the heights of the Argentinean side of the Andes before many of these grapevines bask in the morning light. The combination of the warm afternoon sun and cool mountain breezes creates the bold yet elegant Cabernets found here.
♦ Limari Valley
Aside from the Elqui Valley which lies a further 50 miles north of the Limari Valley near to the Atacama Desert, it remains one of the most northernmost wine regions of Chile. Situated 200 miles north of Chile’s capital of Santiago, this wine valley lies near to the equator which is not traditionally associated with winegrowing.
The vineyards of the Limari Valley stand out with their brilliant green vines against the brown earthy colors of the surrounding dry, arid areas around it.
With its own unique microclimate caused by its proximity to the Atacama Desert and the Pacific has led to three of Chile’s largest wineries; Concha y Toro, San Pedro and Santa Rita to produce wines here. Visiting the Limari Valley will repay you with fresh Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Syrahs all of which have a special mineral edge. Find out about Concha y Toro’s harvest time in the Limari Valley in this interesting video below:
♦ Aconcagua Valley
Just 40 miles north of Santiago de Chile, the snow-capped peak of the Aconcagua Mountain holds the essential fresh water needed by the wine valley below.
Not only is the Aconcagua Valley known for the imposing Aconcagua Mountain, which is the highest in the Americas but it is now making a name for itself in the production of wines.
With one of the warmest areas in Chile for the production of fine grapes and with some cooler high-altitude areas, Cabernet Sauvignon and more recently Syrah grapes have had the most success here. Surrounded by the breath-taking scenery of the Aconcagua Mountain, Viña Errázuriz is perhaps the most popular and important winery in this wine region of Chile, so make sure to keep an eye out for the wines of Aconcagua!
♦ Casablanca Valley
Finding itself in the history book of Chilean wine is by no means a small feat by the wine producers in the Casablanca Valley.
Northwest of Santiago, the first grapes made it to the Casablanca region as recently as the 1980s when Pablo Morandé also known as ‘El Pionero’ (‘The Pioneer’) decided to plant Chile’s first cool-climate vineyards.
Casablanca Valley today is thriving and has produced some of the best Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs in Chile with all the attraction and aromas of coastal wines. Matetic vineyard produces some fantastic and crisp Sauvignon Blancs whilst Veramonte is perhaps the most well-known winery in the Casablanca region, capturing the attention of wine experts from around the world.