Our Private Wine Estate in Maipo Valley
On horseback viewing the vineyards of Maipo Valley
Chile - Picking the grapes by hand
The Vineyards of Chile
11 - 19 February 2013
This wonderful wine tasting holiday in Chile is dedicated to the fine wine regions of this fascinating and beautiful country. Our 2013 Vineyards of Chile Tour was a great success, with an amazing quality of wines tasted (see Wines Tasted ) or scroll down to see the itinerary in full.
We are delighted to announce that in 2014 we will be visiting Chile again – along with Argentina & Uruguay.
2014 dates for our next wine tour of Chile: 17 February – 2 March. The exact itinerary of Chile, Argentina & Uruguay and prices will be announced shortly. Please see our Chile Wine Tours for more details.
In order to do the vineyard regions justice we will be visiting and meeting winemakers from the following valleys: Casablanca, San Antonio, Maipo, Rapel (for Colchagua & Cachapoal) and Maule, for an in-depth wine tasting holiday. We’ll also be tasting wines from other regions such as Bio Bio, Elqui and Leyda. We offer fantastic optional extensions to either Patagonia, Atacama Desert and Easter Island for those that would like to explore further.
About the time that Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours started, back in late 1986, a friend brought to a ‘bring a strange bottle of wine’ party a Chilean Cabernet. It was the first Chilean wine that we had seen, and it had that strong character and vibrancy that has won Chile so many fans. It was surprising that it was so good. Many of the wines at that time had a strange flavour that came from using barrels made from a local beech rather than oak. The vineyards were a hot muddle of grape varieties, some unknown, and the wineries, mostly clustered around Santiago, were very … ‘traditional’.
Now Chile wine tours are featured in the Arblaster & Clarke programme regularly, so much has changed that it is hard to know where to start. Chile is 2700 miles long and sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific. The vineyards used to be almost entirely on the hot, Central Valley floor. It has grown enormously, but more importantly, it has spread to cooler, more interesting regions; east into the Andes foothills, west to the coast area, and south, even as far as Patagonia.
Winemakers are extremely excited about what this can bring. This is ‘regionality’ in the making, and they are not making the mistakes that others made before them. Pinot is going in near the coast; Syrah on high rocky terraces; Chardonnay on a cool plateau with limey soil. To say the results are encouraging is a huge understatement, Chile is buzzing with all these exciting developments in terroir focused plantings.
On our Chile wine tour we’ll meet many of the key winemakers and owners who are driving changes forward in the Chilean wine industry. Our wine journey will take us about 270 miles from Santiago to Maule (but there are no massive long coach journeys as the itinerary follows the valleys). This exciting itinerary covers the important Chilean regions starting with the classic Maipo region where we visit the most prized Andean side of the region. We continue to San Antonio valley for some world-class complex white wines and the Casablanca valley for cool climate wines both white & red.
We head south into the Rapel valley, where we visit Colchuagua, which is known for fine wines, with Apalta Valley at its centre famed for outstanding Syrah. We continue moving south and stop off in the Curicó Valley for a wonderful wide ranging tasting before we arrive in the Maule valley. It follows the course of the Maule River, is a great contrast to the more northerly regions.
We’ll stay in 5* accommodation in Santiago, the capital of Chile, and in Santa Cruz. We also stay at wine estates (for our exclusive use) in the Maipo valley and in the Maule region.
If you travelled with us to Chile on one of our early Chile tours in 1990’s, even the ‘cutting edge’ wineries we visited were fairly traditional. Largely their ambition seemed to be to make good value, solid wines. And even on the more recent tours – things change every year at the Chilean wine estates! Come and see the difference now and taste memorable, world-class wines!
The Wine Guide is one of the regular Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours team.
We also offer three extensions to the Vineyards of Chile Tour as the perfect way to experience further what South America has to offer, including Patagonia, Atacama Desert and Easter Island. These extensions are organised by our team but are unescorted.
Weather in Chile in February
February is still Summer in Chile. The central region is more Mediterranean in climate about 25 – 27 degrees C, with cooler temperatures, helped by cool breezes. However humidity is low and rainfall is at it’s lowest during February and March, the perfect escape from the British winter.