The boom in popularity of Chilean wine – and the spectacular setting of the Colchagua wine valley, lodged between rolling green hills – has inspired a creative new twist on enological tourism along the wine route in the O’Higgins region, just south of Santiago.
Here, visitors can enjoy the take a ride on a hot-air balloon while taking in the vista of the vineyards in Peralillo. Or enjoy a wine tasting as a gondola gently sweeps them over the terraced vineyards in Lolol. And the beauty of the region’s natural setting makes it a perfect place to combine a day of wine tourism with hiking, horses, star-gazing or even a round of chocolate tastings.
Colchagua Wine Route
The internationally-lauded Colchagua Wine Route offers tours every day of the week, in the communities of San Fernando, Santa Cruz, Placilla, Palmilla, Peralillo, Lolol and Marchigue. In 2011, some 80,000 visitors explored the Colchagua wine valley, and chartered flights have started bringing tourists directly from Santiago, sometimes just for the day.
Pairing fine wine with an unforgettable adventure
One of the most novel attractions this summer is the opportunity to float high above the vineyards in a hot-air balloon, in the community of Peralillo. “People are left amazed, because the flight is very smooth as they are slowly suspended in the air,” operator Nicolás Díaz told El Mercurio.
Flights are operated between six and ten in the morning, to take advantage of the calm wind conditions. Floating up to the height of about 100 ft (30 m) allows visitors an unhindered view of the valley floor, while hiring a longer tour takes the balloon up to a soaring 1,300 ft (400m) over the vineyards.
Vineyards with special offerings
Gondola ride over Cerro Chamán – Viña Santa Cruz
Nature hike with wine tasting – Viña Montes
Star-gazing with wine tasting – Viña Santa Cruz
Chocolate tasting – Viña Bisquertt