Hot Tub in a Wine Barrel at a Winery in Chile

Our first winery stop on our South America wine tour was to J. Bouchon, in the Maule Valley of Chile. And it was beautiful at the winery, known as Santa Maria de Mingre, with it’s hacienda style dwelling, expansive vineyards, resident horses, inviting patios and magazine worthy interior decor.

But, it had one more thing that was unexpected. A hot tub. Not your typical 6-seater, jetted acrylic one. This one was made entirely out of a wine barrel. A ginormous wine barrel.
J. Bouchon Chile

We spent two nights indulging at the Mingre and definitely made the most out of our stay.

Every meal was a special, multiple course experience at this winery. Even on the day when we thought that overflowing baskets of empanadas and a hefty cheese plate in the sitting room were our lunch, they were just appetizers. A warm up to what was to come.

And one of the reasons I gained five pounds in South America.

Everything was prepared deliciously and in-house, from the cauliflower soup with venison jerky to the tempting banana ice cake. On one evening, the tender venison entree was simply prepared yet filled with flavor, and lacked the typical gaminess. Grateful for that.

Cauliflower Soup Banana Cake

A meal at the Mingre wouldn’t be complete without wine and friends to share it with. There was no lack of either, everyone who sits at this table become friends of the winery.

Just like the several course meals, there was also a J. Bouchon wine to complement each dish. Lucky us. Though the variety was plentiful, my two favorites were the Las Mercedes Carmenere, which is one wine that we sell at my restaurant, and the Mingre itself. Truth be told, I liked the Mingre just a little better. I would have drank it straight from the bottle to get the last drop. I’m classy.
J. Bouchon Table J. Bouchon Table

There were several activities to choose from at the winery, but my heart was set on horseback riding through the vineyards. Now that’s bucket list worthy. I hadn’t ridden a horse in years and apparently my guide caught on to that because he kept me tethered to his horse the entire time. I’d like to believe he just liked my company and wanted me nearby. Whatever gets me through the day.

My horse Osama slowly carried me through the vines only stopping to take a few bites of the grapes. Smart horse.
horseback riding in Chile
Horse in Chile

We didn’t get to see everything by horseback, we had to do some driving and walking too. With 370 hectares of plantations and ten different varietals there was a lot to tour.
J. Bouchon Vineyard Chile J. Bouchon Vineyard ChileJulio at J. Bouchon Vineyard in Chile

One evening, the after dinner hours were spent shooting pool and drinking piscolas, a popular drink in Chile. It is made with Pisco and cola. You probably could have figured that out yourself. With all the chatting and cocktails, we were all easily distracted from the game and it became secondary to storytelling.

I am no stranger to hot tubbing, may have even done it a few times naked. That’s an entirely different story. But, I have never soaked in a wine barrel. Or any tub this large. We estimated the size to be anywhere from 15-20ft. All I know is that I could lay down flat and my feet still didn’t touch the person across from me.

The unique barrel tub is heated with a wood stove, which takes hours, so you need to plan your soaking experience ahead of time. We entered the tub one late evening, when there was no light in the vicinity, but the stars. The most stars I had ever seen in any sky.

Seven of us fit in more than comfortably, and we probably could have fit seven more.
Hot Tub at J. Bouchon Hot Tub at J. Bouchon
That evening Julio, the son of owner Julio Bouchon, said, “its not only about the wine, but it’s the experience of being here. Just making wine is easy, what is here is a style of life. We enjoy being here”. No doubt.

2017-03-10T13:52:29+00:00 June 17th, 2013|Categories: Chile, South America, TRAVEL|


  1. Anita Mac June 18, 2013 at 3:39 am - Reply

    The entire trip sounds delightful! Love that you got to ride a horse through the wineyards. Somehow, that feels very South American to me! Nice to top it all off in a wine barrel too! Sounds like the perfect finish to a day!

    • Annette White June 18, 2013 at 5:00 am - Reply

      The horseback ride through the vineyards was pretty special and I had no idea that horses eat grapes!

  2. Heather June 18, 2013 at 7:04 am - Reply

    “It’s not only about the wine, but it’s the experience of being here.” I think that sums up what you seemed to experience very well!

    How awesome is the barrel tub?! Especially when you can enjoy the stars without light pollution. Great way to end a day.

    • Annette White June 18, 2013 at 8:02 am - Reply

      I couldn’t believe how many stars there were! I tried to take a picture, but that obviously didn’t turn out.

  3. Heather June 19, 2013 at 12:37 am - Reply

    You sure know how to enjoy life! I thought the wine-barrel hot tub was going to be the highlight of this post, but horseback riding through the vineyards wins the trophy. Amazing!

    • Annette White June 19, 2013 at 1:05 am - Reply

      I actually couldn’t decide which one to put in the title! Maybe I chose wrong 🙂

  4. Mike | Earthdrifter June 19, 2013 at 1:54 am - Reply

    What more can you ask for? Gorgeous nature. Wine Barrel therapy. Great food. Delicious wine. What a place!

    • Annette White June 19, 2013 at 3:07 am - Reply

      I definitely felt grateful to have such an amazing experience.

  5. Wine barrel hot tub?? So funny. Looks like fun! I feel like every comment I leave I mention how jealous I am of your travels… haha

    • Annette White June 19, 2013 at 9:11 am - Reply

      The whole experience at the winery was really fun, especially the hot tub! I get jealous of your experiences too 🙂

  6. Jennifer June 19, 2013 at 10:19 am - Reply

    This looks like an amazing experience all around! We have got to visit!

    • Annette White June 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      I’m not going to lie, every part was pretty special 🙂

  7. Charli | Wanderlusters June 20, 2013 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Ok so you had me hooked after reading the title! The experience sounds superb, what yummy food!

    • Annette White June 20, 2013 at 8:35 am - Reply

      I actually don’t think I did the food enough justice in this article, it truly was fabulous!

  8. Casey @ A Cruising Couple June 20, 2013 at 8:38 am - Reply

    What more could you possibly need?!? Food, wine, horseback riding and a wicked awesome hot tub under the stars. Sounds spectacular! 🙂

  9. Teo June 22, 2013 at 4:29 am - Reply


  10. […] a short horseback ride through the Chilean vineyards of J. Bouchon Winery, I have not had a horse encounter in over twenty years. Until now, until […]

  11. […] Gracias Chile for giving me my first horseback ride through autumn colored vineyards and then letting me soak my aching muscles in a hot tub made out of a wine barrel. […]

  12. […] a short horseback ride through the Chilean vineyards of J. Bouchon Winery, I have not had a horse encounter in over twenty years. Until now, until […]

  13. AndesCampers RV March 4, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    If you want to come to Chile, you can’t miss the wine route!

    And remember…we got a camper waiting for you!

  14. Jim May 13, 2016 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    I admire you so much. The landscape of Chile is so beautiful, I want to go to there.

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