Maipo Valley is one of the closest wine regions to Santiago, Chile. It’s also one of the best! And if you enjoy your red varieties as much as I do, you’ll absolutely love it here.
This is because the Mapio Valley wineries are renowned for their robust and flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon. This is due to its prime location between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
But the region also produces Chile’s signature red wine grape, Carménère.
I spent a day exploring the wineries in Maipo Valley and have shared everything you need to know in this guide, including the best wineries, wine tours, and how to plan your trip to Maipo Valley, Chile.
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Where is Maipo, Chile
The Maipo Valley wine region sits at the foothills of the Andes Mountains. It’s a 40-minute drive south of Santiago, making it the perfect day trip from the capital city.
The best time to visit Maipo wineries
The grape harvest season starts in late February and continues until April. This is a great time to visit Maipo Valley, as you’ll have the chance to witness the entire winemaking process, from picking grapes to processing them.
I explored the region in winter (July) and had a fantastic experience. Yes, it was cold, and the vineyards were not as vibrant as in other months. But on the positive side, there were no crowds!
How to visit the wineries in Maipo Valley
The best way to experience Maipo Valley is on a day trip from Santiago. I don’t recommend staying in Maipo Valley unless you want to spend a few days exploring the wineries.
The best Maipo Valley wine tour
I joined this Maipo Valley wine tour from Santiago and highly recommend it!
I traveled solo, and everyone on the tour, from the guide to the driver and other tourists, were super friendly.
After a 9 am pick-up, we had our first wine tasting by 10 am. During the tour, we visited 3 Maipo Valley wineries and had the most delicious lunch at Zinfandel.
The costs included transport, a guide, and all wine tastings. The only thing not included was the lunch, as you settle that bill individually.
You can book the same wine tour that I did here. I paid for the tour myself, and they did not know I was a travel blogger, so my views are totally unbiased.
Other Maipo Valley wine tours
The Little Wine Bus is also a popular Maipo Valley wine tour option with raving reviews. It’s similar to the wine tour I booked, just a lot more expensive.
However, your lunch costs are included with The Little Wine Bus, whereas with my one, it was an additional cost. You can check prices and availability here.
Unfortunately, Maipo Valley is not a wine region you can explore on foot or by bike.
If you have a car rental and a designated driver, this is another great way to visit. But who wants to be a designated driver when you could be sipping on the most delicious red wines in Chile?
So, if you want to save the hassle of making wine-tasting reservations, which are required, I recommend booking a wine tour instead.
What wine is Maipo Valley known for
If there’s one thing that makes Maipo Valley famous, it’s red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is a flagship grape, and sipping on an endless supply on a cold winter’s day was exactly what I needed in my life!
But the most iconic wine from the region is Carménère. It’s a medium-bodied red wine that originated in Bordeaux, France. Today, you’ll almost only find this grape grown in Chile.
Maipo Valley wineries to visit
Here are a few wineries that are worth a visit.
Vina Santa Ema
Vina Santa Ema has the best wines in Maipo Valley (in my opinion). The estate primarily focuses on classic grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménère.
I did a tasting of 3 of their wines, and they were all spectacular. I particularly enjoyed their Rose, which is generally not my favorite, and even went home with a few bottles of their Catalina.
The tastings are done in a modern tasting room led by one of the most passionate winemakers I’ve met.
Campo La Quirinca
Campo La Quirinca is one of the most underrated wineries in Maipo. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Maipo River, it’s a striking contrast to the more established Vina Santa Ema.
Campo La Quirinca is on a small farm home to chickens, turkeys, llamas, and horses. And, of course, vineyards! During our wine tour, the guide took us through their entire winemaking process. He was fun and charismatic and entertained us while walking around the property.
We were then treated to a wonderful tasting that included two red varietals and their pisco. This, paired with cheeses and olives, was the best introduction to our wine tour.
Vina Undurraga is one of the most well-known Maipo Valley wineries. It’s also one of the oldest and has a rich history that dates back to 1885.
The grounds are very impressive, with beautiful vineyards and rose gardens. The highlight was walking through their magnificent cellar.
We ended the tour by tasting 5 of their wines, and we were given a glass as a souvenir.
Vina Terra Mater
Vina Terra Mater is a quaint winery that offers a relaxed and informative wine-tasting experience. I highly recommend visiting their on-site restaurant, Zinfandel.
This is the best winery lunch in Maipo if you’re looking for a casual setting with delicious food and wine.
Is Maipo Valley worth it?
After spending weeks in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina, I wasn’t sure if Maipo Valley would live up to my high expectations.
But it did! The wines were some of the best I’ve ever had. As for the people, Chileans are the most incredible and hospitable people, and they made this experience such a memorable one.
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Are you planning on visiting Maipo Valley, Chile? Do you have any questions about the tour I went on or the wineries I visited? Drop me a message in the comments section below.