Region Visit: The Wines of the Maipo Valley, Santiago, Chile

The Maipo Valley is one of the more undiscovered wine regions in the world and is on the cusp of wine tourism. After a taste of what it had to offer, we were impressed by the regions’ features and wineries.

This post is one chapter in our trip to Peru and Chile via Air Canada Executive First (Business Class). This trip was booked using Air Canada e-upgrades to upgrade into Air Canada International Executive First class. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Region Visit: The Wines of the Maipo Valley, Santiago, Chile

Though very little convincing, I was able to talk Ms World Traveller 73 into a day’s wine tour by private car rented from Hertz. The Hertz office was a ten minute walk down from Hotel Orly. We set out early. The lot was a compound with a large office and a maintenance bay. Although Hertz Gold 5 Star, there was no Gold Canopy here. Instead, I was invited into the office to sign a multitude of paperwork. This was apparently par for the course there – so much so that the office had black leather couches for people to wait on. I wished I had taken a photo of them.

Visiting Almaviva winery by Château Mouton – Rothschild and Chile’s Concha y Toro:

We set out and headed for Almaviva – the joint winery effort between Concha y Toro and Baron Phillipe de Rothschild. I had made an earlier appointment. It was a bizarre sight to see mountains surrounding the vines.

Our 10 AM tour was fully private as no one else had booked and we had a lovely tasting of the 2008 Almaviva, which is actually cheaper for purchase in Canada than it is in Chile. The staff here, given the caliber of the wine, were very knowledgeable of all aspects of the industry. 

It was absolutely a fabulous tasting experience at Almaviva and worth our time to come and visit.

Visiting Concha y Toro winery:

We then went over to Concha y Toro and had the commercial tour. There were lots of busses, the whole experience reminded me of Napa Valley and the commercialism. There was a great bistro restaurant for the empanadas (were rich in onions), and a fairly average wine store for souvenirs. Ms WT went nuts in the store and came out with wine stoppers, bags and bottles of wine. 

We had made a tour reservation but they didn’t find it at the check in. There was lots of tour guides so there was no problem here. They did serve Don Melachor on the tour, which is their flagship wine under their Concha y Toro label. I personally found it a bit too jammy and rough for my tastes. It reminded me of a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon that was too fruit forward.  

The place was complete with a devil in the cellar.

Visiting Cousino Macul winery:

We finished off the day at Cousino Macul. This particular winery has a few vines left in the city, but has moved most of its operation further out to get away from the development and pollution. If you wanted to do a self guided tour here (without paying for a guide in a white van) you can access this place using the Santiago Metro. Reservations are required. The wines here were quite good as well. We also had a private tour here since the other 2 on our time slot didn’t turn up. 

Summary of the day:

Overall, the Maipo Valley wineries were a pleasant way to spend the day. The Almaviva tasting was very much our speed and a great way to taste some wine. Cousino Macul had much more soul and personality to it. The Maipo Valley was a great excursion just outside of Santiago and we were happy that we were able to take it all in on our short visit.

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