Where to Drink Natural Wine from Chile

Here are the wineries to visit on your trip to Chilean wine country (or what to look for at your local wine shop).

Where to Drink Natural Wine from Chile

Polvo Bar de Vinos carries about 150 mostly natural bottles of wine from Chile and around the world.

Photo by Joaquin Trujillo

Even if you don’t want to rent a pickup and get lost on dirt roads, you can still have a superb adventure visiting Chilean wineries specializing in natural wines. LATAM Airlines offers daily nonstop flights to Santiago from three U.S. cities, including New York. From Santiago, it’s an easy trek to any of these wineries below; if you can’t make the trip, check out my recommendations for 10 natural Chilean wine producers whose bottles you can find stateside.

If you’re in Chile. . .

Viña Tipaume

Where: Viña Tipaume is in the Cachapoal Valley, 90 minutes south of Santiago

The Dirt: The Pouzet-Grez familyʼs home and winery are set at the foot of the Andes. This is the spot to look up at the daunting mountain range and feel its mesmerizing majesty. Yves Pouzet is one of the many French expats making natural wine in Chile; he was, in fact, the first biodynamic vineyard farmer in Chile. Book a tour for a brilliant introduction to this sensitive and spiritual communion with nature. Tastings $45 per person.

Make it an overnight: Although located an hour southwest of Viña Tipaume, the luxurious resort Vik Chile is worth the drive. Book one of the new glass suites at sister property Puro Vik, which is perched on hills above the original resort’s vineyards. From $1,200.

De Martino

Where: De Martino is in Isla de Maipo, 45 minutes southwest of Santiago

The Dirt: One of Chile’s oldest family wineries, De Martino should be a role model for all larger wine operations. An early adopter of organic farming, the winery stopped using yeasts and most other additives nearly a decade ago. For the Viejas Tinajas wines, winemaker Marcelo Retamal starts with fruit harvested from old vines in Itata then ferments and ages the wines in old amphorae called tinajas sourced from all around Chile. All tours include a tasting of the tinaja wine. You can also arrange to have lunch or dinner—and the lovely grounds are worth exploring. Tours and tastings from $27 per person.

Make it an overnight: The Amplus Restaurante and Hotel offers simple rooms and casual, Peruvian fare. From $75.

Viñedos Herrera Alvarado

Where: Viñedos Herrera Alvarado is in Quilpué, one hour northwest of Santiago

The Dirt: Every Sunday starting at 11 a.m., winemakers Arturo Herrera and Carolina Alvarado host a casual wine market in the vineyard that’s open to anyone, including travelers. “It’s very democratic,” Carolina says. “We don’t have a salesroom, so Sundays are when wine professionals or neighbors come to buy wines.” No matter the weather, you’ll find a picnic and many bottles of wine—the gatherings, Carolina reveals, usually turn into big parties. It’s best to bring a Spanish speaker as well as cash. Email for the particulars and meeting point.

Make it an overnight: Spend Saturday in gritty but exciting Valparaíso. Hotel Palacio Astoreca is a short stroll from the Tres Peces restaurant, which also focuses on locally caught fish and traditional ingredients. (Warm up for the next morning by drinking Viñedos Herrera-Alvarado wines, which occupy a prime spot on the menu.) From $200.

De Martino  is one of Chile’s oldest family wineries.

De Martino is one of Chile’s oldest family wineries.

Photo by Joaquin Trujillo

Related Savor Napa Valley Like a Master Sommelier

Even if you’re not in Chile. . .

Whether you’re armchair traveling or doing pre-Chile research, here are 10 of my favorite natural wine producers whose bottles are available in the United States.

Winery: Louis-Antoine Luyt
Region: Maule, Bío Bío, and Itata
What to drink: From Louis-Antoine, the guy who sparked the natural wine revolution in Chile, comes the Pipeño series. Each bottle is named after the vineyard owners. Get what you can.
Where to find it: Louis/Dressner

Winery: De Martino
Region: Itata (winery in Isla de Maipo)
What to drink: You’re looking for the muscat or cinsault from its Viejas Tinajas line, wines that are fermented and aged in clay pots. Really lovely.
Where to find it: Broadbent Selections

Winery: El Viejo Almacén
Region: Maule
What to drink: When the 2010 earthquake hit and destroyed his village, Renán Cancino was forced to make wine without electricity or additives. He has been a fierce natural wine advocate ever since. His païs, carignan, and grenache taste wild, savory, and sturdy.
Where to find it: Indie Wineries

Winery: Agricola Macatho
Region: Itata and Maule
What to drink: These are Chilean wines made with French know-how. Macatho produces seven different wines, including a syrah and a pinot, but the best for me are its païs wines (it makes several) and the cinsault.
Where to find it: Jose Pastor Selections

Winery: Mauricio Gonzalez Carreño
Region: Bío Bío
What to drink: Mauricio is a classically trained winemaker who later rejected conventional winemaking, and on the side he trains Arabian horses. He works with tinaja, or clay pots, as well. Look for the long skin-contact moscatel, the malbec, and any of the pipeños.
Where to find it: T. Edward Wines

Winery: Cacique Maravilla
Region: Bío Bío
What to drink: Mustachioed Manuel Moraga was a forester who took back the family farm and vineyard in 2009—and then came the 2010 earthquake. Yet he stays smiling. His light-hearted pipeño is a delight. Also, the latest vintage of cabernet is truly vibrant, and his amber-colored moscatel de Alejandría is a fine aperitif.
Where to find it: Indie Wineries

Winery: Pisador
Region: Maule
What to drink: The beloved Elena Pantaleoni, owner of La Stoppa winery in Emilia-Romagna, is making her third vintage of wine in Maule. Her mother lives there so it was a natural addition. She makes one wine: païs. It’s a big mouthful of a wine, with the smokiness of the païs and a touch of mint.
Where to find it: Louis/Dressner

Winery: Roberto Henriquez
Region: Bío Bío and Itata
What to drink: My personal favorites are the pipeño, the skin-contact moscato, and the super-low-alcohol païs verde.
Where to find it: T. Edward Wines

Winery: Tinto de Rulo
Region: Maule and Bío Bío
What to drink: Four friends—including winemaker Mauricio Gonzalez—decided to make wines together. They now produce several well-made, delightful wines, including pipeño, malbec, and carignan. I have a particular hankering for the pipeño.
Where to find it: Ripe Wine Imports

Winery: Viñedos Herrera-Alvarado
Region: Quilpué
What to drink: Arturo Herrera and Carolina Alvarado mostly make wine from the French varieties (its sauvignon blanc is kind of a revelation). But look for the field blend and the Oro Negro from old païs vines.
Where to find it: Jose Pastor Selections

>>Next: Move Over, Pilsner: In Prague, Natural Wine Is Having a Moment

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