New activities bring adventure tourism to Chilean wine routes

Vineyards in the Maipo, Maule and Colchagua Valleys have introduced hiking, horse riding, ziplining and even flying over and through the scenic valley lying between the Andes and the Coastal Range.

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Of course Chilean wine country produces some of the new world’s best bottles, but it is also a region of stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna, much of which has until recently gone unexplored by visitors along the wine routes of prominent production centers like the Colchagua, Maipo and Maule Valleys. Now vineyards along some of these popular wine routes are diversifying their offerings with trekking, bike tours and even flights for aerial views of their grounds.

Via Viña, in Chile’s Maule Valley, offers a tour through its extensive grounds by bicycle (US$30, or CP$10,500) with stops along four major stages of the wine production process and ending with a panoramic viewpoint where the wine tasting takes place. Horseback rides through the grounds and picnics also give visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of the region.

Just an hour south of Santiago and tucked into the foothills of the Andes, Viña La Montaña offers its visitors an even more adventurous approach to its surroundings.  Under the same ownership as well-respected vineyard Peréz Cruz just to the north, Viña La Montaña now offers a five hour tour of its grounds in the Maipo Valley.

The tour begins with a 45-minute hike amongst native growth forests, then continues to a full kilometer of ziplining through the greenery that surrounds the vineyard, affording spectacular and exciting views of the landscape from above. The visit ends with an outdoor barbecue and a full tasting of the vineyard’s wines. Group sizes range from two to eight, with prices varying per person depending on group size from US$100 (CP$50,000) in larger groups to roughly twice that for a couple.

In the Colchagua Valley, which lies roughly halfway between the Maipo and Maule Valleys, Colchagua Wine & Tours offers a broad selection of trips, from horse trekking to biking amongst the 17 vineyards along the Colchagua Valley wine route. In its most unusual offering, Express Wine Country, the organizer transports visitors from Santiago to the Colchagua Valley by air, which affords a rare aerial view of the hills, mountains and vineyards that stretch all the way from the southern edge of the capital city to the rich vineyards of Colchagua, in addition to tastings at two of the vineyards along the route. (For more information on the Colchagua routes see here.)

By expanding their offerings for visitors, Chile’s vineyards are also opening their whole viticultural world to a new variety of travelers, providing different points of access to one of the most important and exciting products that Chile’s abundant landscape has to offer.