Tours and Activities:
Tour around Concha y Toro WineryMarcelo Sola Marcelo Sola
The Concha y Toro Winery opens its gates to unveil some secrets of the history, the taste and the complexity of its wines. A breathtaking wine tour.
Located only 45 minutes away from Santiago and immersed in an ancient lawn in the area of Pirque, the Concha y Toro Winery has become a must see for many tourists visiting Chile. We were summoned to come around this icon of Chilean wine.
In order to accomplish our target, we had to abandon the City of Santiago towards the South. Amidst a countryside area, we came across the entrance gate to the Concha y Toro Winery, one of the best worldwide known venues when it comes to wine.
We were welcomed by a bilingual guide who led us across a lawn up to the façade of the Pirque House, which used to be the residence of the Concha y Toro Family. Once there, we learned that back in 1875, a few years before the foundation of the vineyard (1883), its owner, don Melchor confided his wife with the task of building the estate house. Little by little, we began our journey back in time and we imagined the daily tasks performed by the employees of the vineyard, the time to harvest and the winemaking process.
Afterwards, we came close to the Pirque Viejo vineyard, where the guide explained the development of the vines and their cultural and technological management. At this point, we learned that this region has Mediterranean weather, that the soil is alluvial and that there are no insects or fungi in the area, thus making the use of pesticides totally unnecessary. The vine preserves its original quality.
The Legend Continues
After this practical lecture, we were invited to take part in the first tasting experience of the morning. A bottle of the wine that has made the greatest contribution for the Concha y Toro Company to occupy a position in the international market was expecting us: Casillero del Diablo - Carmenere.
This variety, which was introduced in the country in the late XIXth century, is grown commercially only in Chile. For over a century, the Carmenere was confused amidst plantations of Merlot, until it was rediscovered in the 1890s.
The guide explained the steps to carry out a complete taste and thus enjoy the benefits of this wine. We appreciated its color, aroma and flavor. We learned that the glass where the wine is served has an effect in the perception of aromas and flavor. The guide taught us how to oxygenate the wine so that it can release all its virtues.
After tasting, we were invited to see one of the most significant attractions in the vineyard: the ancient wine cellar where the founder would keep part of his best wines. There we learned about the legend of the Casillero del Diablo (the Devil's Rack).
“Everything began in 1883, when don Melchor introduced into Chile the most exclusive grapes from the region of Burdeaux in France. These grapes experienced an extraordinary development in the fertile soil of the Maipo Valley, with results never seen so far. Well aware of the quality of this production, don Melchor Concha y Toro reserved a shipment of the best wines for his own consumption.
These wines were kept in the back of his wine cellar, in a rack which had been specially designed for such purpose. As time went by, don Melchor realized these bottles of wine began to disappear. After countless enquiries and much investigation, he came to the conclusion that they were being stolen by people from the surroundings.
Knowing that the inhabitants of the area were quite superstitious, he resolved to spread the rumor that his winery was dwelled by the Devil himself.
The story worked: fear discouraged the thieves and no other bottle ever disappeared. A simple rumor was turning into a legend. The people from the village came to be convinced that the Devil really lived there. There were even those who assured they had seen him”. Our guide told the story using a suggestive and enigmatic tone. The truth is that more than 100 years have passed and the story still remains alive inside these walls.
Our tour continued with the taste of the last wine: a “Don Melchor – Cabernet Sauvignon”, which represents the wine of the vineyard. We repeated the procedure and discovered a wine of exceptional character and complexity.
Eventually, we went to the wine-shop, where visitors may acquire a wide range of wines and souvenirs that will remind them of their visit to the winery. We chose the glass we had used to taste the Concha y Toro wines.