Chilean Wineries

Oenologists and oenophiles alike cannot resist kicking back for 2-5 days to visit the spectacularly-stylish wineries of central Chile, which produce many prize-winning vintages. Some wineries also offer chic boutique hotels and intimate lodges to make your relaxation complete.
Chile boasts more than 70 wineries, and many of the finest lie within only a 2-3 hour drive of Santiago. Therefore, unlike Buenos Aires, which is more than 1,000 km (13 hours by car) from the Mendoza wine region of Argentina, you easily can combine Chile’s sophisticated capital with some of the finest wine tourism.  As it happens, Santiago lies only 184 kilometers from Mendoza as the condor flies (but a five-hour drive!), and these two cities both are located at 33 degrees south of the equator. There is no need to cross into Argentina to enjoy superb vintages, as Chile now offers so many prize-winning wineries.

Since 2004, Chilean wines have been winning many of the top spots at international wine competitions that are all blind tastings, notably the Berlin Wine Tasting of 2004 and 2005, held in Berlin and Brazil, respectively. In the 2004 competition, eight top wines from each of France, Italy, and Chile went head-to-head in a three-way competition. Two Chilean reds won the top two prizes. In the 2005 “rematch”, five of the top seven awards went to Chilean wines.  The following year, at the 2006 Tokyo Wine Tasting, four of the top five prizes were won by Chilean wines.
In the last few years, the Chileans have organized formal “wine routes”, with five in the Central Valley not far from Santiago, and two in the Aconcagua area, only a bit farther from Santiago.  Fodor’s prestigious travel guide chose the wine routes of Central Chile as one of the top 11 locations in the world for honeymoons.  
Several of the best-organized wineries in the Central Valley, near Santiago, have stylish boutique hotels on the property, which make for excellent locations to relax either at the beginning of the trip or at the end of the trip, after days of serious hiking with Pumas.  Some of the wineries offer unique, spectacular charm lodges that will delight even jaded travelers
Of particular note is the fact that some of the wineries are within view of towering Aconcagua, which, at 22,841 feet, is the highest peak in the entire Western Hemisphere.  It is not guaranteed that on a given day, the weather will be clear enough to allow for views of the peak, but in some months, the chances of spying the peak are quite good.

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