Bikes & wines
Touring Chile’s best vineyards by bicycle
A cycle ride through the wineries surrounding Santiago brings some of Chile’s most renowned wine producing valleys even closer.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Bike tours pass through vineyards on the Ruta Maipo Alto, close to Santiago. (Photo: labicicletaverde/flickr)
As word gets out about the unparalleled diversity of terroir in Chile’s wine producing regions - from the desert oasis of the Elqui Valley in the desert north to the cool Chardonnay plantations of the Casablanca Valley - enological tourism is on the rise, and becoming increasingly creative.
Hot-air ballooning, chocolate-tasting and stargazing have all been blended with the traditional wine tasting and cellar touring activities typically associated with vineyards, but one of the latest trends to emerge in Chile’s world of wine tourism is so simple you’ll wonder why it hasn’t taken off before: bike-riding.
Chile’s central region, characterized by a Mediterranean climate, produces some of the country’s most prestigious wines, and due to its proximity to Santiago is home to some of the most established wine valleys, including the Colchagua, Aconcagua and Maipo Valleys.
Bicycle tours take visitors in small groups through the region’s diverse grape cultivation areas, through valleys bounded by the Andean mountain range and the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a great way not only to visit a range of different vineyards and sample a variety of grapes, but also to experience the small towns that support the wineries, which are otherwise often left off the typical tourism trips.
In these small towns you’ll experience a Chile that operates at a different pace from Santiago - despite being just a day trip away - not to mention authentic Chilean cuisine and local culinary specialties.
Tours can range from a day trip from Santiago to the nearby vineyards of the Ruta Maipo Alto, to week-long rides through the famous Colchagua Valley, 100 miles (160 km) south of the capital.
Below, a list of some of the companies offering bicycle tours in the valleys and vineyards scattered throughout Santiago and the surrounding regions of central Chile:
La Bicicleta Verde: click here for the website.
Santiago Adventures: click here for the website.
Bikes & Wine Chile: click here for the website.
Colchagua Valley Bike and Wine Tours: click here for the website.