Overview

Introduction

The hacienda-based legacy of the Colonial era manifests itself most strongly in the Central Valley. Driving south of Santiago, you will pass by many of the country’s best vineyards, several of which are open to visitors. En-route you will see several white flags displayed signalling that fresh bread is for sale. Winemaking in Chile dates back over 400 years. Growing conditions are ideal, with a long, dry growing season and well-drained volcanic and fluvial soils. Both connoisseurs and those simply interested in wine will be intrigued with the magnitude and focus of wine in the Central Valley.

In 1978, the Spaniard, Miguel Torres, bought Vina Manquehue and incorporated new equipment and techniques. His hard work and persistence paid off when his new Chilean wines won one gold and two silver medals at the 1985 Olympia wine fair in London. Since then, the Chilean wine industry has caught on in a big way, thanks to competitive advantages in labour and land costs. Chilean wine has built a solid reputation for flavour and good value for money. In 2001, Chile exported approximately 4.5% of the worlds wine exportations which shows the scale and importance of this industry.

The Maule Valley is Chile’s largest wine producing region, home to 27% of the country’s vineyards. Local vineyards have joined together so as to create a ‘wine route’, similar to that in Colchagua Valley.

The Colchagua Valley is a focal point of Central Valley culture and is home to some of the best vineyards and boutique properties in Chile. Seven vineyards in the Colchagua valley have joined forces to offer an interesting and enjoyable tour of the region.

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Wine Train

A new and very different way to visit the Chilean wine growing district is by steam train.

This can be a full day excursion – starting and finishing in Santiago – or a way to transfer to the wine district for a longer stay. The journey starts by road from the capital to San Fernando where you board the train for the rest of the journey to Santa Cruz. Once on board, there is folklore entertainment, a light cocktail with typical Chilean food and, most importantly, wine tasting. On arrival in Santa Cruz the wine theme is continued with a visit to a local winery before lunch at the Santa Cruz Plaza hotel. The day continues with a visit to the Colchagua Museum before either commencing the journey back to Santiago by road or staying at the Hotel Santa Cruz Plaza. The train runs every Saturday in high season and every other Saturday in low season.

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Chile was made for lovers of the outdoors and wonderful natural scenery. Very few countries can offer deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, snow capped mountains and emerald-green lakes. Away from these places, I feel very privileged to have also travelled to two of Chile’s extremities - Cape Horn and Easter Island; contrasting destinations but equally special.

Stephen Bray
Stephen Bray
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 4 hours

Currency

Chilean Peso

Language

Spanish

Average flight times

14 hours 35 minutes. BA direct flight to Santiago from London Heathrow

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our Chile expert

Stephen Bray
Stephen Bray

Chile was made for lovers of the outdoors and wonderful natural scenery. Very few countries can offer deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, snow capped mountains and emerald-green lakes. Away from these places, I feel very privileged to have also travelled to two of Chile’s extremities - Cape Horn and Easter Island; contrasting destinations but equally special.

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The Central Valley and Wineries of Chile

The Central Valley

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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