Elegant wineries, bright wine grape vineyards, beautiful mountainous landscape, and cool Mediterranean climate – these are some of the things you will experience when you are traveling at Chile’s Casablanca Valley, the country’s fastest growing wine regions.
The area is a valley that stretches to 19 miles and borders Valparaiso province. The first vineyards to have been planted in the region were during the 1980s. Although, there are different kinds of wines produced in the region, Casablanca is known for its crisp white wine such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard’s major white grapes include Riesling, Viognier and Gewurztraminer.
Casablanca is conveniently just 44 miles from Santiago, Chile’s capital city. This distance equates to about one hour of driving. Thus, it makes an excellent day trip or a weekend getaway. You can rent a car and drive yourself to the valley. This will give you the advantage of touring the different vineyards at your own pace. But if you just want to spend time appreciating the scenery and doing some serious wine tasting, you can book for a guided tour.
You have the option of getting a day tour or an overnight trip, as offered by the tour companies. A typical tour to the Casablanca valley includes air-conditioned transport to and from your hotel in Santiago, driver and a knowledgeable bilingual guide. Visits to the wineries are the highlight event as well as wine tasting. You will most likely be served lunch in one of the wineries like ViÃ²a Casas del Bosque or ViÃ²a Veramonte. Prices for day tours range from $250 to $350.
There are many wineries located in the valley and some of the most prominent include Casas del Bosque, Kingston Family Vineyards, and Loma Larga Winery. Known as a family boutique winery, Casas del Bosque’s main goal is to produce quality wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery is equipped with tourist facilities like tasting rooms, a winery shop, a playground, and a hotel. It welcomes visitors to its barrel room and conducts the Harvest Experience program during the harvest season. The famous Tanino Bar and Restaurant is found within Casas del Bosque. Here, you can complement their best dishes like roasted lamb and salmon ceviche with the winery’s signature wines.
Kingston Family Vineyards may be a small family winery, but they produce high quality labels for wines like Syrah, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. A tour around this winery includes the wine making process and tasting. They also have accommodation facilities, spa and a restaurant. Cool climate red wines like Malbec and Cabernet Franc are the great specialty of the Loma Larga Winery. This is how the winery got its international fame. Loma Larga also offers a wine tour, tasting, dining and lodging opportunities.
The wine harvest season in Casablanca Valley occurs at the end of summer, usually around March. This is considered the best time to go if you want to see this fascinating process. The months of April and May are also great periods to visit because this is when the vines begins to change colors. But if you can’t travel to the valley during these times, do not worry! Casablanca is open to visitors throughout the year except for some major holidays.