Chile’s Winelands centre on the Colchagua Valley. Protected on all sides by mountains, this sheltered spot is perfect for planting vineyards and orchards, and as such it is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country. Jesuit missionaries first brought European grape varieties here in the 16th century, and the wine industry has been flourishing ever since.
There are dozens of fine wineries within the Colchagua Valley, many of which are open to the public. Tours are available on horseback, by horse drawn cart, by bicycle, and even by cable car! In March you can join in with the Grape Harvest Festival, and at other times of the year it’s possible to stay on an estate, take a masterclass in wine making, and, of course, to enjoy a gourmet lunch with wine tastings.
Whilst you’re in the Winelands, be sure to pop into the charming city of Santa Cruz. The colonial architecture is well preserved, there are some very pretty churches, and the excellent Museo de Colchagua has a superb collection of pre-Columbian ceramics, weapons, silver, and religious artefacts.