I don’t know whether it was the early morning fog, the rolling hills surrounding the vineyard, or the grapes themselves that made me do a double-take: Was I really in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, or was I back in California’s Sonoma Valley? With its intoxicating location and old world charm, Casa Silva (the colonial-style inn that sits in the midst of the family vineyard) has the best of both. It’s a place to relax, tour the surrounding vineyards, and – naturally -- drink their own varietals (especially the Sauvignon Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petit Verdot). With only seven rooms, Casa Silva sits somewhere between a B&B and a guest house, with shabby chic rooms that are a throwback to Chile’s colonial era. We snagged room no. 4, with high ceilings and a comfy four-poster bed as well as an oversized bathroom.
While the inn itself is special, the restaurant is worth a visit on its own. It has a clubhouse feel, overlooking the family polo field, but with unique and breathtaking views of the Andes. Hotel guests can take a leisurely 20-minute walk through the vineyard to the restaurant, which features Chilean specialties like conger eel, queso fresco, and tuna ceviche in one of the most dramatic settings I’ve ever enjoyed. (And don’t pass up the mote con huesillos, aka “wheat berry peach dessert.”) Finally, not to be missed: the tour of Vina Casa Silva, which houses one of Chile’s most up-to-date wine facilities and the family’s collection of perfectly restored antique cars.