This is the first post in a planned throwback series about day trips you can take from Santiago de Chile.
I lived in this fantastic city for a year 2010/11, and I just love to talk about it and remember it, and I hope this information will be useful and interesting to anyone planning to spend some time there.
Chile has some great wines, and one of its most famous wineries is Concha Y Toro (which translates to Shell and Bull, in case you were wondering), which is located in Pirque, just south of the capital. It’s probably the biggest and most well known brand of wine in Chile, and worth visiting for that reason alone.
It is really picturesque part of the country, and the winery is a lovely place to wander around with scenic views across the Maipo Valley. If you are a true wine connoisseur though, you probably won’t get much out of it in terms of high quality wine or in-depth information about the wine making process.
A bilingual guide can take you around and tell you about the history of the house and the family dating back to the late 1800s. They have some great stories, including about the Casillero del Diablo (the devil’s locker or wine rack).
The Story of el Casillero del Diablo
Back in the 1880s don Melchor, the owner and founder of Viña Concha Y Toro, discovered that some of his best wine was disappearing from his cellar, stolen by local villagers. To put a stop to this he spread a rumour that the devil himself lived in his cellar, and the superstitious villagers immediately believed him and forever more stayed far away from his precious wine. Result.
Today the story is reflected in the range of wines bearing the Casillero del Diablo label available around the world, and when you visit the winery you get to see a corny light and sound show about it.
Then of course there is the wine tasting. You will be able to try the Carménère, which is rarely grown outside of Chile. It was thought lost to blight in Europe for more than 100 years until it was rediscovered in Chile mixed in with a crop of Merlot.
From Santiago, take the metro to Las Mercedes Station on line number 4 (blue line).
From Las Mercedes it’s a short taxi ride, or you can take Metrobus number 73, 80 or 81 to Pirque. I would personally recommend this bus as one of the most action-packed I have taken in my life…
The whole trip should take about 1.5 hours, depending where in Santiago you start from.
The winery address is Av. Concha Y Toro, Pirque, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The winery is open Monday to Sunday 10:00 to 17:10, with the exception of public holidays.
Complete your experience
Sideways 3 Chile by Rex Pickett – about a guy who moves to Chile to write about wine. Fitting.
I can’t think of anything relevant…
Just drink vino.
Boy with a Coin by Iron and Wine – because we are talking about wine, and also because I listened to this song on repeat while I lived in Chile.