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This post, written by Beth Delthony, is a participant in the 2014 Guest Bloggers Program sponsored by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
All photo credits: Beth Delthony
Casablanca Valley is known for its cool climate wines and along with Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was named the 10th region in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network in 2013. This beautiful tranquil valley is easy to get to, located about an hour from Santiago along Route 68, the main road between Santiago and Valparaíso.
View of the vines at Emiliana and the hills of Casablanca Valley
Although many wineries in Chile require a reservation and only offer a winery tour and tasting combination. The following wineries and restaurants are open to walk in visitors, offer tastings without a tour, and are all in a 5 kilometer stretch on the same side of Route 68, see our map below. If you’re a large group it’s best to call ahead to save yourself time, for groups of 5 or less you shouldn’t have any issue. Keep in mind most wineries open around 10-11am and close by 5-6pm. If you want to do a tour, ask, if they have availability they will probably accommodate you.
Casablanca often has early morning fog as seen here at Quintay, but it usually burns off for a lovely sunny afternoon.
If you want to avoid driving you can take the bus and make this a walking tour! Any bus to Valparaíso will stop in Casablanca. Just ask when buying your ticket, around $2.500 CLP, and tell your driver which winery you want to stop at, otherwise you’ll add a bit of a walk to your day. When you exit the 2nd tunnel, remind the driver where you want to get off, and they will leave you at the side of the road near the entrance. The local roads along the highway connect most locations, though you might have to climb over a few small obstacles so wear sturdy shoes!
Wine shop and barrel room at Veramonte
Veramonte is the first exit before the toll, in addition to being the first winery you will encounter in Casablanca, this is a nice place for your first stop as they are open daily from 9:30am-5pm. They offer several tasting options starting at $2.000 CLP for a glass of wine. Veramonte is also a good choice if you’re visiting with Chileans, as they have difficult to find imported wines. They have a winery in California, and sell several of their Californian wines here! For tours they request that you book 1-2 days before. They have several tour options, some including food, starting at $11.000 CLP, additionally they offer winery lunches with reservations.
Walking through the vineyard and along the highway and local road, the entrance to Emiliana is about 2 kilometers away. This organic winery is a popular choice as they offer a variety tasting of options, including a wine and chocolate pairing. Tastings start at $1.800 CLP for a glass of wine, if you prefer the more complex tastings or their tour they request you reserve a day before. The tour is $12.500, but as they don’t do any wine-making here, the tours instead showcase their organic efforts with animals and plants on the property. Additionally, they offer picnics, with 2 days’ notice, or country lunches for groups of 15+ people with 10 days’ notice. If you prefer a sit down meal you can make reservations a day before. They are open daily from 10am–6pm December through March and 10am–5pm the rest of the year.
Llamas are just one of the many animals living and working at Emiliana.
About half a kilometer down the local road you will find House, a wine shop and restaurant with some winery operations onsite for the Morande group. You can eat lunch or try a few of their wines in the restaurant, tour their operations, or do a tasting in their wine shop. They have a nice garden to explore if there’s a wait for a table or a tasting, or you can buy a prepared picnic and enjoy it out there. They also hold their own Vendimia, if you’re visiting during the fall look for it, it’s usually held one weekend in April. Tastings start at $5.000 CLP, and tours are $7.000 CLP, they request reservations for their tours. The shop and tours are run from 10:30am–5:30pm and the restaurant is open from 12pm-5pm, both are closed on Monday.
Just one and a 1⁄4 kilometers down the local road, is Quintay. This smaller winery prefers notice for tastings and tours but if you have a small group they can likely accommodate you for a tasting. They’ve just renovated their wine shop and tasting room so make sure to check it out. They have tours and tastings Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm, tours start at $14.000 CLP and tastings start at $6.000 CLP. Their shop is open until 8pm on Fridays so if you’re driving by later, stop in.
Barely half a kilometer further is Casa Botha, this restaurant sells local garage wines among other Casablanca wine options, and it’s owned by a knowledgeable expat couple from South Africa and Italy. The food here is excellent, they focus on a menu featuring fresh local products and you can taste the difference. They are open daily, from 12pm–5pm so if you’re planning to have lunch in Casablanca, try here, you won’t be disappointed. If you would like to do a tasting of some of the garage wines, they can arrange it for you with advanced notice. If you’re looking for local recommendations, ask, they know the area very well. It’s not necessary to make reservations but if you have a large group call ahead and let them know you’re coming so they can be ready for you.
To get back to Santiago you will have to walk along and cross the highway to flag down a bus, so we suggest the walking tour option for adventurous tourists! Some buses will only stop if you’re at a bus stop, so you may need to walk to the nearest one. You can flag down any bus going to Santiago. Full buses will not stop, so you may have to wait a bit during holidays or weekends, but don’t worry buses run regularly until about 10pm. Tickets back may be up to $5.000 CLP, so carry cash for the fare.
Original blog post URL://http://santiagotourist.com/casablanca-valley-wine-tours-tasting-their-wines-with-a-walking-or-driving-tour/