Cousiño Macul vineyard bike and wine tour

0

What are the similarities between a bicycle and a bottle of wine? It would seem that there are none. However, if you mix the two together you get a great tour in the Chilean capital. The Cousiño Macul vineyard offers a tour that combines a wine tasting with a bike ride through its vineyards. A fantastic combination!

The bike and wine tour in the Cousiño Macul vineyard is divided into three parts: a one-hour long bike ride through the vineyards, a visit to their cellar and a wine tasting. The tour lasts about 3 hours. There are two tours a day, at 11 am and at 3 pm. We took the morning tour and we truly enjoyed it.

Photo by Lucila Runnacles, source


BIKE RIDE IN THE VINEYARD

We choose our bicycle and received instructions and then began pedalling through the vineries of the Maipo Valley, near to Santiago. During the visit, the guide shared some of his knowledge with us such as the fact that Chile is amongst the 10 biggest wine producers in the world or that its emblematic grape, the Carmenere, was brought from France and adapted incredibly well to the Chilean soil. Some experts even say that this was a gift from the French region of Bordeaux to Chile.

The bike ride included various stops to take pictures, ask questions and even taste a very cold white wine in the middle of the vineyard. Picture this: surrounded by green plantations and grape vines, the Andes Mountains in the background, and you, grinning as you savour a flavourful, fruity and cool wine. Happiness is sometimes much easier to achieve than people think.

Photo by Lucila Runnacles, source


VISITING ALL OF THE OF THE FACILITIES AT THE VINEYARD

We had peddled for one hour, tried grapes directly cut from their vines, cycled over 4,5 km and listened to lots of information about the vineyard and the Chilean wine production: it was time to discover the facilities at Cousiño Macul.

This company started producing wine during the 19th century and the Lota, partly artisanally produced, is its most famous and award winning wine. Inside, you can see how the women separate the good grapes from the not-so-good with their hands in order to begin making the wine.

The Lota ages in barrels for 18 months. In the vineyard, a bottle of this Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend can cost about USD$110. But you do have to not worry, if your budget does not allow it, you will have the opportunity to taste this wine just by paying for a glass.

During the tour, we also visited the ancient part of the cellar where you can find wines that are more than 100 years old. Down the road, we saw various objects that nowadays are part of the vineyard’s museum and we had the opportunity to hear more funny stories. “Chile is known for its many earthquakes and every time such an event occurs near Santiago, we fear for the Lota bottles being kept there. Once we had a very strong seism and when we got there, we saw a red river running through the cellar and a lot of broken bottles, it was unfortunate”, just an example of some of the stories told by our very funny guide.

Photo by Lucila Runnacles, source


WINE TASTING

After having explored the many different locations in the vineyard, we began the third part of the tour – and maybe the one we had been looking forward to the most – the wine tasting! A white wine and two reds made the whole group very happy. Even the guide participated and told us about some of the specific flavours of each wine.
The only thing that could be improved on better were the appetisers, we only ate a few pieces of bread between each wine which left us quite hungry, especially after such a long bike ride.

Photo by Lucila Runnacles, source


RECOMMENDED FOR

This was a very positive experience, mostly because this was our first bike ride through a beautiful vineyard. It was a different way to learn more about wine and to do some exercise at the same time.

There is no age limitation for the Bike and Wine Tour at Cousiño Macul vineyard, even minors who cannot drink alcohol can still enjoy the bike ride with bicycles made for children or by sitting in the backseat of an adult bike.

This bike ride and wine tasting is the basic tour: there are 4 wines, but you will taste one in the vineyard as well. However, Cousiño Macul offers two other wine tasting tours. The regular lasts 45 minutes and includes the tasting of 3 wines, a varietal wine, a reserve wine and a great reserve wine. The premium tasting last 1h and 30 minutes and includes 5 wines, one of them with a premium label and a small portion of cheese and dried fruits.

HOW TO GET THERE

Near Santiago, there are various vineyards but this is the closest to the city. It is easy to get to Cousiño Macul with public transportation. The closest metro station is Quilín (línea azul, blue line). From there you can take a cab to the vineyard (about 2.5 km) or the D17 bus outside of the Quilín station.

For a bit more comfort, you can book a guided tour with Chile4u and you will be picked up at the door of your hotel and taken to the vineyard with a guide who will tell you more about the wine production in Chile.

By Lucila Runnacles
Journalist and author of the blog Viagem Cult (in Portuguese)
Translated to English by Grégory Noël