As a massive wine lover, I wanted to visit at least one winery on my travels, so we decided to visit Concha y Toro as it was the only one accessible by public transport from Santiago. The others had to be booked as part of an organised tour, which costs a lot more than going it alone.
Jumping on our nearest metro stop at Baquedano (red line 1), we changed at Tobalaba for the blue line 4 that took us to Plaza de Puente Alto, the end of the line. Lasting around an hour, we were entertained both ways by full-blown bands, from traditional Spanish music to rap! The singers and their band, all equipped with instruments, microphones and speakers, piled onto the metro at different stops. They were all really good, so it made our journey more fun! We gave the first all our change, so had no more for the others, however, people seem to be generous here, so they still did good.
Hailing one of the many taxis at the other end, we took a 10 minute journey to Concha y Toro winery. Having not booked in advance, there was only one English tour left 3 hours later, so we booked ourselves on a Spanish tour instead!
As the largest producer of wine in Latin America, it was impressive from the onset. What was even better was when I realised this was the winery for Casillero del Diablo, the Chilean wine I know from home and have been drinking throughout my trip!
Joining a group of about 20 people, we started our wine tour – luckily with a guide who spoke some English! She very kindly gave us a brief overview at each stop before speaking to the group in Spanish.
We saw Don Melcher’s house (the original owner), the surrounding very well kept grounds, and of course the vineyard itself – offering 26 different varieties of grapes. With signs indicating which grape the vine produced, I dashed about until I found my favourite – Sauvignon Blanc.
Next, to the all important wine tasting where we did the whole glass swill, sniff and drink. We got to keep our wine glasses too, yah! However backpacking with wine glasses has become a little ridiculous, so these have been sent home!
We then got to go into the first manmade manipulated climate cellar where they kept barrels of wine, before heading into the original cellar, where the perfect temperature and darkness is natural due to the the cellar’s design. Here the legend of the devil was borne.
Melcher devised a rumour that the devil lived in this cellar after his finest wine kept disappearing. This spread with speed and before long people claimed to have seen the devil, which further still escalated people’s fear.
Today this legend lives strong, and in the cold, dark cellar we were treated to a video projection on the cellars brick walls, showcasing the story. Today the finest wines are still kept here.
Seeing the Casillero del Diablo – ‘the Devil’s cellar’ was the highlight of the tour and learning about this story makes drinking this wine even more enjoyable!
The tour lasted about 1 hour and only cost 12.000 pesos (£12 ish). Afterwards we visited the shop to choose from their vast variety of wines. I opted for my favourite, but in a pretty bottle (that I didn’t have the room to keep) for only 3.900 pesos (£4 ish).
You definitely don’t need to book an organised tour to visit Concha y Toro, it’s cheaper and way more fun to travel by yourself and it was actually better doing the tour in Spanish, as it felt that little bit more authentic!