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Travel Stories

Cycling and Sampling in Chile’s Wine Country

by Maria Elena - Thursday, November 1, 2012 chile_collage

Chile’s central valley is home to many of Chile’s top wineries, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains it’s the perfect climate for growing grapes. Landscapes are reminiscent of Napa, California and cyclists will discover 201 level rides over quiet secondary roads making it a perfect place to explore by bike.

ExperiencePlus! offers two itineraries, an 8 day and an 11 day option and on both versions we stay in historic haciendas and colonial towns while visiting wineries to learn about their history, operations and wine production. Getting to both Bicycling Chile’s Wine Country  and the Plus! the Pacific Coast tours is easy as both begin and end in Chile’s capital Santiago – where skiing, hiking, climbing, white water rafting, and kayaking are all within an hour of the city. Santiago also offers world-class restaurants, museums, and markets and is the perfect launching point for a ride through Chile’s highly acclaimed “new world” winemaking region.

We’ve selected a fabulous mix of wineries including both independent, family-run operations and some of the big names of the area. Here’s a taste of what to expect:

  • Casa Silva, renowned for both its horses and as one of the oldest family–run wineries in the region.
  • We’ll spend a night in the Colchagua Valley at the Las Majadas Guest House, which is related to the famous Bisquertt Wineries. Enjoy a tour and tasting before settling in for a wine spa treatment which is said to firm the skin and slow down the aging process due to wine’s high antioxidant content.
  • On Day 4 we pedal through the tiny, but unique Valle de Apalta, home to several of Chile’s most important wines: Montes, Casa Lapostolle and Ventisquero, as well as the up-and-coming Neyen.

The 8-day itinerary ends in Duao, one of the many small fishing villages dotting the Pacific coast with a transfer back to Santiago in the morning.

The 11-day Plus! the Pacific Coast itinerary includes two additional days of bicycling south along the Pacific Coast and a final ride, one of our favorites, which takes us back into vineyard country and our last wine hotel: Viña Guilmore (Tabonko Manor), which is run by the daughter of one of the original owners, and her husband who is the chief enologist.

At the end of the 11 day trip, we’ll transfer you back to Santiago and visit one last winery along the way. Plan to arrive in the late afternoon which is perfect for evening flights to North America, or spend a few more days and enjoy all Santiago has to offer, perhaps a city tour by bike, or a day trip to Valparaiso, a remarkable coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Maria Elena - Maria Elena Malpezzi-Price: 'M.E.' started her bicycle tour leading experiences as a 5 year old, translating ice cream flavors on our first Venice to Pisa tours. Since then, she's led tours in more than 10 countries (specializing in Spain, where she lived for more than a year). With a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and International Affairs and an MBA From the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado, Boulder she manages the business and its development at the Fort Collins office in Colorado (and of course traveling to Europe in the summers). She loves going out on tour and hopes to manage to travel a bit even though now she is "in charge" of the Fort Collins office! You can e-mail her at MariaElena {at} ExperiencePlus.com.