Chile is wine country! One of the greatest reasons for living here is wine: acres of vineyards, plenty of varieties, and mostly, the rare Carmenère red! We didn’t hesitate to start sampling 2,000 CLP bottles of wine (that’s the equivalent to <$4) and we’re not about to stop. Recently we took our taste-testing to a new level and visited a nearby vineyard. You may know it- Concha y Toro. They are known for their Casillero del Diablo wine. And they are also the 2nd largest winery in the world (when it comes to area of planted land). They don’t just have land in Santiago, but also in California.
For once, I felt like a tourist when we started the tour of the vineyard. The tour guide spoke English and asked us where we were from. The most popular answer: Canada. There were a couple of us Americans (or United States-ians, cuz Chileans get very offended if you say you’re American. They are too!), about 5 Japanese, and a few others. It was a gorgeous day… Let the tour begin!
The main gate to the vineyard.
This used to be the owner’s house. I think they said it has 23 bedrooms? It’s definitely a lot bigger than it looks. Now the vineyard is a public company so these rooms are used for offices and special tours.
Part of the gardens. Most of the plants were imported by the owner from exotic places.
Acres of vines, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon.
They had many different kinds of grapes. I think this one is only used for eating and coloring the wines, if necessary.
A close-up of the grape used for coloring. Look how dark the juice is! And it was a very yummy grape. Apparently if you made wine from it, it would be unbearably strong.
Grapes still on the vine!
Did I mention we got to pick grapes off the vine and try them? As many as we wanted and could try in about 5 minutes! We just couldn’t take off a whole bushel.
Just pour the wine already! There were extras and since they were going to just dump it out, Cadu and I helped ourselves to an extra sample. This was the white we got to try and I was pleasantly surprised with it.
One of the cellars. I just love the smell of the oak barrels!!! And I still can’t believe 1 barrel holds about 300 bottles of wine. That’ll do!
The Devil’s Cellar, which is how the Casillero del Diablo wine got its name. This is a cellar that is naturally cooled due to its placement underground and the stone structure. While we were in there they told us the ‘legend’ of the Devil’s Cellar. Basically, some guys robbed the cellar back in the 1800s or something, and a rumor was spread about the devil living in the cellar to thwart off thieves. There were even light and sound effects during the story. Kind of humorous, actually.
A part of the Devil’s Cellar that holds their best wines. And the Devil himself… Behind me there was an old ‘lift’ they used to use to bring up bottles of wine and it now drips some water so it smelled horrible in there and kind of added to the effect.
We had such a nice afternoon! We paid for 3 samples of wine and got 5. (We took extras of one of the reds too.) And enjoyed a cheese plate and full glasses after the tour. They also let us take our glasses home, so now we don’t have to buy wine glasses for our apartment!
While it is a bit touristy, I do recommend visiting Viña Concha y Toro if you are ever in Santiago. I’m still excited that we had the chance to pick grapes!