The lights go out, plummeting us into darkness. Flashes of light illuminate the rustic stonework of the barreled cellar ceiling. Rows of oak barrels, stacked in neat rows, stretch away from us towards the distant wall. Wine is aging in the barrels, and I am looking forward to tasting more.
Claps of loud noises startle and entertain us, along with the tale being told, and an image of a devil floats at the end of the underground room. This is the spookiest wine tasting tour I’ve ever taken.
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Review of the wine tour Concha y Toro Santiago, Chile
A Santiago wine tour
Santiago de Chile (Santiago for short) is one of the major gateways into South America. I loved experiencing different food and drink when I travel, so when I visited Chile, in addition to a food tour, I wanted to do a winery tour.
Santiago, Chile is surrounded by valleys like the Maipo Valley that have the perfect climate for growing wine grapes. There are many vineyards near Santiago to choose from, but the Concha y Toro tour is a great day trip from Santiago, Chile.
Concha y Toro is one of the best wineries near Santiago, Chile to visit – probably one of the best wineries to visit in Chile, not just Santiago – because it extremely well-organized and there are many different varieties of Concha y Toro wine to try and buy. So, I looked for one of the Maipo Valley wine tours that included a Concha y Toro visit.
Check current prices and availability for the Concha y Toro tour here.
Getting to the Concha y Toro winery
I was picked up from my hotel at 8:00am and, as usual where hotel pickups are involved, spent close to an hour driving around different hotels in a minivan, before being dropped off at Piedras Australes, a high-priced handicraft shop that specialized in lapis lazuli.
We waited around for a while for others to arrive, before transferring to a slightly larger minivan. The drive to the Concha y Toro winery took another hour or so.
The first part was through the suburbs of Santiago, then into the Maipo Valley, past vineyards, to the town of Pirque.
The Concha y Toro Winery, Santiago is one of the largest wineries in Chile, and the visit is a well-orchestrated machine, making this one of the top choices for Maipo Valley wine tours. Chile has a large wine-growing industry and this is one of the giants in their industry.
There are tours every few minutes, in different languages.
The Concho y Toro wine tour description
The walk from the parking lot was through an archway draped in colorful flowering wisteria vines.
The buildings have a simple elegance.
The tour started with a walk into the gardens, with beautiful views of a lake and lawn in one direction and the colonial house of the family that started the winery. Our guide Macarena was really friendly and knowledgeable, and gave us a lot of background information about the company here.
Our first sampling was a Sauvignon Blanc served on large barrels set up as tables under the trees.
We then passed a garden with all of the 49 different types of wine stock vines that the company grows, before heading up a small hill back to the main buildings. We had our second tasting here, a carbonere, as Macarena explained the wine making process to us. The next stop was a modern storage room for barrels where the wine was aged.
The tour continued down into one of the few original cellars that has survived Chile’s earthquakes over the years. The cellar is called the Cellar of the Devil and this is where their most famous wine, the namesake Casillero del Diablo, is stored.
Here, there was a dramatic sound and light show with spooky narration telling how the original owner dissuaded thieves from stealing his wine by creating an impression of the devil living in the cellar.
Then there was another tasting, a cabernet sauvignon, before the tour ended in the gift shop. We got to keep the glass we used for the tastings.
Then we drove back to the lapis lazuli shop, where we were served a small glass of pisco sour while waiting for the van to pick us up and drop us back at our hotels.
The verdict: Concha y Toro tour, Santiago
The actual tour at the winery was great. I liked that the tastings happened at several stops along the way, including an outdoor area. It included a tour of the grounds, some vines and the storage rooms, as well as an entertaining albeit slightly corny reenactment of a tall tale. I believe that this was one of the best day tours from Santiago, Chile.
Tours from Santiago, however, take time to pick up, get there and back and drop off. Of the four hours, the winery tour was only one hour. The other three hours were getting to the winery, waiting around the lapis lazuli shop and picking up/ dropping off other travelers at various hotels.
Since I didn’t have a car, this was the easiest way for me to take one of the wine tours near Santiago, Chile, but if I had a rental car, I would stop off at Concha y Toro as part of a winery day or on my way out of, or into, Santiago.
My favorite wine? I love their signature Casillero del Diablo carbonere. They love to tell the story of how carbonere was thought to be completely wiped out after a plague in France, but it was discovered more than 100 years later, from DNA testing, that a mysterious Chile Merlot was actually the long-lost carbonere. It makes a good story, and the wine is good too.
|Authenticity of experience||16|
|Quality of interaction with culture/ environment||15|
|Difficulty to arrange||19|
|TOTAL TC SCORE||80|
How to Book the wine tour Concha y Toro, Chile
There are several operators for winery day trips from Santiago. I booked the Concha y Toro tour through Get Your Guide and it was very easy to book, pay and get all of the details. The pickup was right on time. There was a guide for the minivan trip out to the winery and she gave interesting commentary along the way on the wine growing industry in Chile.
If you go yourself, the Concho y Toro wine tours are available daily between 10:00am and 5:10pm (closed on holidays).
Other options include:
Premium tour of Concha y Toro. The three samplings described above PLUS an additional 4 wine tastings paired with cheese tastings. Check availability here.
Tour of Concha y Tor (or Santa Rita) PLUS city tour. An 8-hour tour of the city highlights plus a winery tour. Check availability here.
Guide to Visiting Santiago, Chile
Other things to do in Santiago, Chile
If this one visit is not enough, there are other wine experiences you can have in Santiago. Check out a full list of winery tours from Santiago here.
Here is a full list of Santiago tour options through Viator.
A food tour of Santiago is also a highlight.
Where is Santiago and what is the currency?
Santiago is the capital city of Chile in South America. The currency in Chile is the Chilean peso.
Note that several countries have the peso as their currency, including neighboring Argentina, but these are NOT the same currency. Just like the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand all have the dollar, but they are all different currencies.
The symbol for pesos is $, so it looks like dollars, but it’s not.
Check the current exchange rate here.
Visa requirements for Chile
Always check visa requirements as soon as you decide to travel, so that you have plenty of time to get a visa if you need one.
Check your home country’s official government visa websites:
For citizens of other countries, use this helpful website (though it’s best to always check with the embassy as well).
Best time to visit Chile wine country
The best time to visit Chile depends on where you go. It’s a long country with incredibly varied weather. Because Santiago is in the middle of the country, it has a moderate climate and you can easily visit Santiago and the wineries any time of year.
However, the best time to visit the Concha y Toro winery and the Maipo Valley, Chile is late March to May, as this is the harvest season, so you can enjoy the fall color and see the grapes being harvested.
Santiago de Chile weather:
January: average of 68°F / 20°C, but the temperature often exceeds 86°F / 30°C
June and July: average of 46°F / 8°C.
Winter months (May-August) are much rainier than the other months.
Getting to Santiago, Chile
Santiago has Chile’s major international airport, and it is the gateway to most of Chile’s attractions, including the wine country and Patagonia.
Getting to/ from Santiago Airport
You can take a taxi from the airport or take a shuttle transfer. Book a shared transfer from your hotel to the Santiago airport here.
Taxis are easy, but expensive and the traffic is often terrible. If you get a taxi, go to one of the taxi counters that you will see after customs but before the exit into the main airport lobby. There is a flat rate and you pay at the counter. Don’t go with someone who approaches you but is not an official taxi driver.
Getting around Santiago, Chile
There are two easy options. Within Santiago, the Metro is easy to use. However, if you want to get outside Santiago, renting a car is an option.
This tour has a pickup from your hotel, so a rental car is not necessary, and there are several other wine tours below with pickups. However, if you want to tour around the wine country by yourself, then you can rent a car easily. Rent a car in Santiago here.
For a guide on how to use the Metro in Santiago, check out my other Santiago post here.
Concha y Toro winery: How to get there
Map of the three top winery tours Santiago de Chile
Where to stay in Santiago, Chile
There are several good options for places to stay in Santiago. Read my guide to choosing the best hotel for helpful tips and things to look for.
The Aubrey Boutique Hotel is on Calle Constitucion in the Providencia neighborhood. This is a great area for restaurants and bars. It has a rating of 9.4 on booking.com. Book the Aubrey Boutique Hotel here.
If you are looking for something more familiar, then the Hyatt Centric Las Condes Santiago is a good option. I stayed here when I was in Santiago on business. I don’t really like hotel chains, but this was very modern and chic and didn’t feel like the usual cookie cutter chain hotel.
It’s in the Las Condes area, which is a modern, upmarket neighborhood a little away from the historic center, but close to the lapis lazuli store that was the central meeting point for the winery tour, so the hotel pickup/ drop off section is shorter. It has a booking.com rating of 9.1. Check availability of the Hyatt Centric Las Condes hotel here.
Safety in Santiago
Santiago is probably the safest capital city in Latin America, and chances are you will have no problems. However, it pays to be vigilant and careful. Be especially aware of pickpockets and bag/ phone snatchers in crowded places like the main square/ Plaza de Armas.
It is a very good idea to know common travel scams so you recognize them and avoid them. I have compiled a list of common travel scams and I highly recommend you read it. I also recommend reading about travel mistakes I have made, so you avoid these too!
Planning and packing for Santiago, Chile wine tours
I use the Internet a lot to plan – and I hope this blog is useful resource for you – but I also always use a Lonely Planet to get the big picture and details of other attractions not listed here. Buy the Chile Lonely Planet here. There is also lots of useful information in my Central and South America Travel Guide.
Planning a trip involves a lot of little details. help keep track of them using my Trip Planner.
When you are ready for your trip, check out my Essential Packing List so you have everything you need.
A great insurance option is Travelex. It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can swap this link for either compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now:
Enjoy the wine!
Do you have any stories of Chile or other wine tours you’ve taken ? I’d love to hear them. Comment below.
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Read more South American experiences here:
- food tour, Santiago, Chile
- glacier cruise, El Calafate, Argentina
- tango, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- hiking in Torres del Paine, Chile
- hiking near El Chalten, Argentina
Read more food and wine travel posts here.
James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. He is passionate about experiential travel, i.e. meaningful travel that actively engages with the environment and culture. He helps people have similar experiences that involve active participation in activities and festivals; engaging with the local food and handicrafts through lessons and food tours; and interacting positively with environment by hiking, riding, rowing, diving and low/no impact animal encounters.
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