Chile's "classic" valley is home to the most traditional wineries in the country, including heavyweight winemaker Concha y Toro. The huge advantage of visiting wineries here is their proximity to Santiago. In fact, you can simply taxi over to wineries like Concha y Toro or Cousiño Macul. The Maipo is the king of red wine production, with cabernet sauvignon occupying more than 70% of the total hectares planted here. This valley was recently divided into the sub-appellations Alto Maipo and Isla de Maipo.

For a taxi to Concha y Toro or Cousiño Macul, call a private radio taxi with executive vehicles, such as Radio Taxi Chile (tel. 2/699-4303), or ask your hotel concierge to call one rather than flagging down a street cab. Often you'll need the bare minimum of Spanish, as drivers do not speak English. Rates cost approximately $28 (£19) one-way from downtown, and $26 (£17) one-way from Las Condes. Ask the driver to wait for you. A taximeter is used for all cars and the per-hour cost of having the driver wait is $7 to $10 (£4.70-£6.70); negotiate directly with the driver if you can for the entire cost of the journey.