In 1994, the Chilean government defined specific viticultural regions, known as appellations, and their sub-regions: Atacama (Copiapó and Huasco valleys); Coquimbo (Elqui, Limarí, and Choapa valleys); Aconcagua (Aconcagua, Casablanca, and San Antonio valleys); Central Valley (Maipo, Rapel, Curicó, and Maule valleys); and the South (Itata, Bío-Bío, and Malleco valleys).

Of Chile's five grape-producing regions, currently the two most important in winemaking are the Aconcagua and Central Valley regions, beginning about 100km (62 miles) north of Santiago and stretching south past Talca, a little less than 300km (186 miles) from Santiago. Within these two regions lie seven sub-regions (or appellations), composed of the Aconcagua, Casablanca, San Antonio, Maipo, Rapel, Curicó, and Maule valleys. Within these valleys, finer distinctions have been divided into sub-appellations and even micro-valleys. Such is the case of the Rapel Valley being split into the Cachapoal and Colchagua valleys.

The traditional wineries of Chile (Cousiño Macul and Concha y Toro) and a few up-and-coming boutique wineries are located within 35km (22 miles) of Santiago, meaning it is possible to spend a day wine-tasting without having to travel very far. Even the Casablanca Valley is less than an hour away. The valleys covered in this section are: Aconcagua, Casablanca, San Antonio, Maipo, Cachapoal, and Colchagua. Of these, the best known outside Chile is the Colchagua Valley, Chile's answer to Napa Valley, and centered around the curious town of Santa Cruz, a Wild West town but with all the poise of a village in Bordeaux, about a 2 1/2-hour drive from Santiago.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.