Sweet valley high
For wine tastings and luxurious lunches with stunning scenery, head to one of Chile’s many wine growing regions – Casablanca, Colchagua, Maipo and Maule are just a few places it’s worth filling your glass. The majority of Chile’s wine is produced in the long and narrow Central Valley, an easy drive from Santiago. Start at Maipo Valley, the closest to the capital and a lovely introduction to Chile’s viniculture with its historic wineries, winding roads and dramatic Andes backdrop. Organic winery Hulequen at the foot of the Andes does tours, tastings and lunches.
Located between Santiago and the coastal city of Valparaiso, Casablanca Valley is an important white wine area, bottling fantastic sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. It’s home to several boutique wineries, some with lovely restaurants – try Morande’s House Casa del Vino. Closer still to the coast is peaceful Rosario Valley and the picturesque family-run Matetic winery. Join mountain-bike or horse riding tours, taste top-quality drops and even learn how to make cheese. Happily, the estate has a guesthouse and restaurant so you can hole up here for a night or two of indulgence.
On the coast
Continue your gourmet explorations in Valparaiso, a laid-back port on the central coast famous for its labyrinthine streets and first-class seafood. The historic quarter of Valpo, as it’s known locally, is a Unesco World Heritage site. Lose yourself in its maze of alleys and stairways or hop on the funiculars that trundle up the steep streets for fantastic views over the higgledy-piggledy, colourful houses and working port below.
The local catch
The local catch informs menus – try the shrimp carpaccio or white clams at acclaimed restaurant Pasta e Vino in Concepcion. Want a little beach time? Visit Vina del Mar, a seaside resort just north of Valpo for a stroll along its pristine golden sands and more superb seafood.