The city of Valaparaiso is noted for its brightly coloured buildings and ancient funiculars that descend from steep hillsides towards the sea port below in what has been described as a ‘wonderful mess’.
Before the Panama Canal opened, Valaparaiso was the busiest port in South America but changing trade routes and industrial decline have lessened its importance, although the city still remains one of Chile’s principal ports. Valaparaiso is situated in the middle of Chile’s internationally acclaimed wine region, which is renowned for producing world class red and, more recently, white wines from grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
The city’s location has made it a convenient base to explore the surrounding vineyards within the Aconcagua and Central Valley wine regions as part of increasingly popular Valaparaiso wine tours. The most important sub-regions within reaching distance from Valaparaiso are: To the north, the Aconcagua Valley takes its name from South America’s highest mountain peak and is where arguably Chile’s finest vintage, the 2014 ‘Sena’, was produced. Closer still is the Casablanca Valley, which has garnered a reputation for the finest white Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines in the country.
The Central Valley region to the south includes: the San Antonio Valley, which produces some of the most revered Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy; Maipo, the closest region to the capital city of Santiago which is famed for its Californian style reds; the Cachapoal Valley, which is the best place to sample Chilean Syrah; and the closely related Colchagua Valley where you will find some of the world’s finest single varietal Carmenere.
At Wine Paths, our local experts in Chile can organise exclusive Valaparaiso wine tours to the country’s most influential vineyards, including elaborate tastings, luxury accommodation, fine dining experiences and some unique activities. All of our private tours can be tailor made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – tasting sensational New World wines while discovering a unique city.
Among the best wine tours Valaparaiso has to offer is a tasting, art and culture experience across the city and the Casablanca Valley. During this full-day excursion, you will visit a small, boutique winery named Catrala to explore the vineyards and sample premium wines made from grapes including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The tour then moves to Valapraiso, which was one of the first Chilean cities founded by the Spanish and named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003 for its architectural and cultural significance. A professional guide will explain Valparaíso’s history and importance as a centre for South American trade and commerce before taking you up into the 43 cerros (hills) by century old elevators called ascensores.
These slopes are covered in candy coloured houses, bohemian cafes and elegant restaurants offering breathtaking views of the natural harbour. You will be given the opportunity to enjoy lunch here while visiting the city’s two most famous hills, Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre. Poets, painters and philosophers have long since been drawn to the unexpected charms of Valapraiso despite its inherent chaos, which has been described by Nobel Peace Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda: ‘Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven't combed your hair, you've never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.' As well as the faded beauty of labyrinth style streets and crumbling mansions, ‘Valpo’ also boasts the finest street art in Latin America.
Visit our Chile destination page for more information and inspirational ideas before planning an exclusive Valaparaiso wine tour.
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