WINE TOURISM IN CHILE
by Jessica Canelo
Chile has unique and undisputable conditions for growing grapes. Despite being so further south, shaping it as a long strip of land, in general Chile has a mild climate, with highly defined seasons of rain-free hot summers, and rainy winters and springs. We are the fourth wine exporter in the world, reaching more than 150 countries, thus it is not surprising every day more tourists are interested in visiting our wine routes and want to immerse themselves in the winemaking experience.
Each valley has different morphological and climatic conditions that shape the wines produced in each one of them. Thus, for example, the acclaimed Colchagua Valley is the best producer of red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Syrah. The Casablanca Valley is an expert in white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. There are 11 different wine routes, showing visitors our winemaking history, process and giving the opportunity to taste –for example- our Carmenère that became Chile’s flagship variety after having been considered extinct for many years, until a French scientific in 1995 rediscovered it in a vineyard located in the central valley.
Wine tourism in Chile has achieved international recognition. Wineries, valleys and destinations have been broadcasted in international publications, giving wine tourism a privileged place within the country’s international promotion. For the first time, Chile will be hosting the 4rd UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, next September 2019.
Traveling to wine regions is part of “experiential travelling” since it is not just about visiting wineries and vineyards. It includes many other activities such as food tasting, accommodation, wine therapies and many others. It is estimated that 11% of foreign visitors who come to Chile visit wineries, so there is still a long way to go.
% of arrivals:
Chile has 94 wineries open to visitors. Most of them are located in Maipo, Colchagua and Casablanca Valleys respectively. In total, according to 2016 figures, our country received 611,800 wine tourists, 10.9% of total country arrivals.
|VALLEY||WINERIES*||% OF TOTAL ARRIVALS|
The number of wine tourists grew in the last 10 years by 21.3% on average, compared to the approximate 10% of average growth of tourism, and 4, 5% average growth of the Chilean economy.
A summary of the main wineries offering tastings, walks, tours, cycling, accommodation, museums, horseback riding and shopping related to wine along Chile is detailed herein:
Central zone / Aconcagua Valley
Guided tours. Tastings. Wines and related products store. Sight views of the Aconcagua Valley.
Central zone / Leyda Valley
Tastings, Equilibrio restaurant, winery visits and bike rides. Exclusive guest house. Wine Shop.
Central zone / Maipo Valley
Guided tours, tastings, picnic and wine shop.
Central Zone / Casablanca Valley
Private tours, guided tours and tastings.
Casablanca Valley Association
Information on valley’s wineries and tours
South Zone / Millahue Valley
Exceptional hotel, winery, a destination itself.
South Zone / Colchagua Valley
Viña Santa Cruz
Traditional Mapuche dwelling or Ruca. Cable car facility. Astronomical Center. local wines shop at the Hotel Santa Cruz Plaza.