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Maipo Valley is one of the most prestigious and traditional wine regions in Chile. Because of its proximity to the nation’s capital, Santiago wine tours are extremely popular.
Maipo valley wineries are renowned for producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Many of Chile’s top red wines come from Maipo Valley, an area described as the “Bordeaux of South America.”
While Maipo valley is celebrated for Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll also find other grape varieties.
The national grape variety, Carménère as well as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
With experts calling Maipo Valley the best wine-producing area in Chile, we went on a wine tour from Santiago.
We visited three Maipo valley wineries which offered different experiences. The first stop was Concha y Toro, Latin America’s biggest producer.
This was followed by Viña Aquitania, a smaller boutique winery making high-end wine. And finally, Cousiño-Macul, an older family-run winery.
Join us on a fascinating tour of 3 amazing Maipo Valley wineries.
How to Get From Santiago to Maipo Valley Wineries
Taking a Santiago wine tour is a fun day trip from Santiago to Maipo Valley.
It is extremely convenient with many Maipo valley wineries accessible by subway and local buses.
Depending on your travel style, you can take a Santiago wine tour or simply explore on your own.
If you choose to go on your own, be sure to call at least 24 hours ahead to book your tour.
We took the adventurous route and visited Maipo valley wineries that were easy to get to using public transportation.
If you choose this route, please find the directions below. Alternatively, you can also take wine tours from Santiago to each winery.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: On your Chile travels, you may consider picking up a few wine bottles to bring home. See our review for the 9 Best Wine Suitcases For Easy & Safe Travels
How to Get to Concha y Toro Winery
To get to Concha y Toro by public transportation: Take Metro Line 4 in the direction of Concha y Toro. Exit at Las Mercedes.
Then take Metrobus 73, 80, or 81 to the winery.
Total time, about 1h30 from downtown Santiago.
You can also take a Concha y Toro wine tour from Santiago.
How to Get to Viña Aquitania Winery
To visit Viña Aquitania by public transportation: Take Metro Line 4 to Quilin.
Exit and take the local bus D17 to the winery.
Total time, about 1h10 from downtown Santiago.
You can also take a Viña Aquitania tour from Santiago.
How to Get to Cousiño Macul Winery
To visit Cousiño Macul by public transportation: Take Metro Line 4 to Quilin.
Exit and take local bus D17 to the winery.
Total time, about 1h from downtown Santiago.
You can also take a Cousiño Macul tour from Santiago.
Concha y Toro – Largest Wine Producer in Latin America
Concha y Toro is the biggest vineyard owner in the world.
In terms of surface, that means that Concha y Toro owns over 10,750 hectares of vineyards.
This includes 9,133 hectares in Chile (not just in the Maipo valley), 1,154 hectares in Argentina, and 463 hectares in the U.S., where it owns Fetzer and Bonterra wines.
As the largest producer of wines in Latin America, the experience at the vineyard reflected the industrial size of the production.
Our Concha y Toro wine tour was larger than we typically like but nonetheless enjoyable. Our group consisted of 18 visitors from Brazil, South Korea, the U.K., India, and the U.S.
On the expansive estate, we learned about the Concha y Toro wines and their history.
Concha y Toro winery was established in 1883 by Don Melchor, a successful businessman who regularly traveled to Europe.
He took cuttings from the vineyards in Bordeaux and brought them back to his estate in Maipo Valley, where he planted them.
Since then, Concha y Toro winery expanded to become a publicly-traded company. The family retains 5% of the shares and it can be found on the NYSE (symbol VCO).
Concha Y Toro Chile Wines Tours
Our tour continued to the original cellars named “Casillero del Diablo” (the devil’s cellar).
Here we listened to a rather cheesy production of a myth about this line of wines.
Apparently, Concha y Toro himself spread the rumor that the devil lived inside his wine cellars.
This was to make people afraid to steal from his wine cellars, which apparently had been in a problem in the past.
Concha y Toro makes several different brands of wines. The most famous Concha y Toro wines are the value-priced wines under the Casillero del Diablo label.
Marques de Casa Concha Wine Tasting Experience
To get the most out of the Concha y Toro experience, we signed up for a Marques de Casa Concha tour.
This Concha y Toro wine-tasting experience was more expensive because it included personalized explanations by a sommelier.
This exclusive wine-tasting experience was unique in several ways. First, there were only 5 of us participating in the tasting.
Secondly, the tasting was run by Christian, a trained sommelier. And finally, we had cheese, bread, and ham to accompany the experience.
The Concha y Toro wine tasting included four different wines.
One Sauvignon Blanc, one Chardonnay, one Merlot, and one Cabernet Sauvignon from the premium line Don Melchor.
The Concha y Toro Wines
The range of Concha y Toro wines was quite diverse. We liked some more than others, and particularly enjoyed the Marques de Casa Concha wines.
The Chardonnay (Marques de Casa Concha, 2013) was delightful. The Merlot (Marques de Casa Concha, 2013) was complex and easy to drink.
Our final wine tasting was from the super-premium brand Don Melchor, a Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.
As Cabernet wines lovers, we were eager to taste this premium wine. Strong with astringent taste, we were unfortunately disappointed.
Apparently retailing for $150.00 USD per bottle for this wine, we would invest in other Chilean red wines instead.
Overall Impressions of Concha y Toro
When you visit the largest wine producer in the world, there are certain expectations that come with that.
The experience felt industrial and commercial. It was like a machine with the most frequent words out of our guide and sommelier – “you can buy this at our wine shop.”
Nonetheless, the property is spectacular and there is a wine bar/restaurant on site.
For a day trip from Santiago, spending the afternoon at the impressive Concha y Toro makes for a fun experience.
Our recommendation on the Concha y Toro wine tour is to take the more expensive option with the Marques de Casa Concha tasting included.
Going on Maipo Valley wineries wine tours would not be complete without visiting Concha y Toro, the “most powerful wine brand.”
Book Concha Y Toro Wine Tours
Visiting the largest vineyard in the world is a remarkable experience. Located less than 40 minutes from downtown Santiago, it is easily accessible.
Cost: $63.90 USD per person
Time & Length: Approximately 4 hours. From 2:30 am – 6:30 pm
Transportation: Free pick and drop off from your hotel included as well as a local guide.
Viña Aquitania – Intimate Maipo Valley Wine Tour
Viña Aquitania was by far our favorite winery and one that we highly recommend. It is a boutique winery that offers an intimate tasting experience.
Vina Aquitania winery is owned by one Chilean and three French owners.
Located at the bottom of the Andes Mountain, the views are impressive.
Vina Aquitania Tour
The Viña Aquitania tour began with climbing to the top of a tower on the property.
From there, we enjoyed amazing 360-degree views of the property.
After descending, the tour continued with visits to the fermentation room, cellars and labeling area.
Along the way, we learned about the magic behind Aquitania wines and what makes them so special.
According to our tour guide, the idea behind Aquitania is “to produce high-quality wines in low quantities rather than lots of wine with mediocre quality.”
All the harvesting is done by hand in April and May. While on the tour we got to watch the labels being applied by hand, underscoring the artisanal wine production process.
Only 15,000 boxes are produced each year with 80% reserved for exportation primarily to Brazil and the U.S.
Wine Tasting at Viña Aquitania
After the Viña Aquitania tour, we moved to the garden area for the wine tastings.
Seated underneath a gorgeous walnut tree with views overlooking the Andes, the location was simply perfect.
For the tasting, we tried three Chilean wines. One Rosé, one Syrah, and the signature wine from the vineyard – Cabernet Sauvignon.
We really enjoyed all the wines, particularly the Rosé (2014). We loved it so much we bought a bottle to take back with us.
The Cabernet Sauvignon (2013) and Syrah Reserva (2014) were also smooth, rich, and easy to drink. While we enjoyed both reds, we really liked the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with the wines from Vina Aquitania.
Overall Impressions of Viña Aquitania
We really enjoyed the experience at Viña Aquitania. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the wines as well as the different wine-growing regions in Chile.
It is a small winery, so the tour goes by quickly. However, the reward of the delicious wines in the garden, makes it worth visiting.
For an intimate setting and amazing Chilean wines, this Maipo valley winery tour at Viña Aquitania is not to be missed.
Book a Viña Aquitania Wine Tour
One of the best Santiago wine tours is a visit to Vina Aquitania boutique winery in Maipo Valley. This day trip from the capital makes for a truly relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Cost: $155 USD per person on a private tour to two boutique wineries including Vina Aquitania
Time & Length: Approximately 8 hours. From 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wine Tasting: Enjoy personalized wine tastings at the boutique Maipo valley wineries of Viña Aquitania, Santa Rita, and more.
Tastings at both wineries include Chilean wines from the premium lines. Savor a delicious lunch that is included at a restaurant with stunning views of the Andes.
Transportation: Private car with a local guide. Pick up and drop off at your hotel or accommodations.
Viña Cousiño Macul – One of the Oldest Maipo Valley Wineries
Cousiño Macul Maipo valley winery is located about 20 minutes walking distance from Vina Aquitañia.
Given the proximity, we visited both wineries on the same day.
As one of the oldest Maipo valley wineries established in 1870, we couldn’t miss seeing their operations.
We got there in time for a small and intimate Cousiño Macul wine tour with a German couple.
The tour started at their old vines, followed by a visit to their antique wine cellars. The final stop was at the private cellars of the Cousiño Macul family.
While the Cousiño Macul wine tour was informative, parts of it felt rote and mechanical. Pieces of information were parceled out at specific stops.
The experience centered on the ancient winemaking processes.
Wine Tasting at Viña Cousiño Macul
After the wine cellar visit, we made our way to the tasting room. The Cousiño Macul tour included a tasting of four Chilean wines.
The first was a Riesling, followed by a refreshing Cousino Macul rosé wine.
The famous Chilean red wines were next, starting out with a Carmenere wine, Don Matias Reserva, 2014.
And, the last wine of the tasting was a Syrah, Antigua Reservas, 2012.
Cousiño Macul Wines
As red wines fans, not surprisingly we enjoyed these wines the most. As Maipo Valley wineries are famous for their red wines, Cousino Macul wines reflect that sentiment.
Both the Carmenere and Syrah wines were exceptional. We found these two Chilean red wines to be easy to drink, jammy, and full-bodied.
Overall Impressions of Viña Cousiño Macul
Going into it, we had high expectations at one of the oldest Maipo Valley wineries.
The winery is also still family-managed, which made it especially appealing.
Viña Cousiño Macul tours are offered in several languages including English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Even though our English-speaking guide was not particularly dynamic, the experience was worthwhile.
Regardless, we enjoyed visiting this historic vineyard and learning more about Chile’s history with wines.
Book a Viña Cousiño Macul Wine Tour
With 150+ years of wine-making tradition, you can’t miss taking a Cousiño Macul
Maipo valley wine tour. The proximity to Santiago and access to other wineries make for a fun day trip from Santiago.
Cost: $150 per person
Time & Length: Approximately 5 hours. From 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Wine Tasting: You can sample a variety of Cousiño Macul red and white wines along with cheese and nuts.
Transportation: Free pick up and drop off along with a local guide
Four Tips For Your Maipo Valley Winery Tour and Chile Wines
Tip 1: If you want a good Chilean red wine, allow yourself to be surprised by Chile’s exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Make sure you get wines with the Maipo Valley label.
Tip 2: Look for wines with D.O on the label for better quality. Chilean law requires that the stated grape, vintage, and geographical area (Denominación de Origen / D.O.) make up 75% of what’s in the bottle.
Tip 3: Go beyond the popular Chilean wine brands in your home country and look for smaller boutique Chilean wines. Support boutique wineries and independent winemakers, especially those like Viña Aquitania, who export to the U.S.
Tip 4: As you prepare for your Maipo Valley winery tours, we recommend calling or sending an email to the wineries at least 24 hours to book a tour. You will find their contact information on their websites.
The wines from Maipo Valley are fascinating and numerous.
Visiting Maipo Valley wineries is a great way to get exposed to the exceptional and numerous wines from central Chile.
While Chile is the largest exporter of bulk wines in the U.S., the market is dominated by just a few brands.
What we loved most about exploring Maipo valley wineries was learning about the richness and diversity of Chilean wines.
Red wine lovers will fall in love with Chilean red wines from Maipo valley. The Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon are unmatched.
Be warned, you may need an extra piece of luggage to carry your wines home.
Have you had Chilean wines before? Please let us know your favorite wines in the comments below.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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