Ted Travels: Spring in South America calls for wineries
Spring is here and so it is in South America, and with spring comes the best time to see the wineries! I love driving around the stunning wine valleys of Chile and Argentina, located in the foothills of the mighty snow-covered Andes.
This is the time when the buds on the vine start to blossom, the gardens start to bloom, the surrounding orchards on both sides come to life in bright colours. It’s a lovely time of year to travel to these regions and explore in a slow pace.
In Chile the area for wine growing is known as “central Chile “ with lots of valleys starting in Santiago and heading to the coast passing through Casablanca, then south to my favourite area: Colchagua Valley. There are many wine growing valleys, around 8 to 10, the Spanish first planted vines some 400+ years ago as they found the land of these beautiful valleys ideal for viticulture. So, from now until harvest (vintage) -or “la cosecha” as its said in Spanish- to February, March, and April, is the best time to visit these wine producing areas.
Next month we will have over 20 flights a week to choose from for your clients as airlines are cranking up the number of flights to Santiago and Buenos Aires, we can expect some competitive airfares (except, of course, over peak season in December and January!). I would suggest a 10 to 15-day wine and foodie tour. We can design a self-drive for your clients or we can add a car and specialist wine guide for their own private tour if they are travelling with friends.
In Chile, I loved driving around and exploring the Colchagua valley where I’ve visited a number of wineries, some that stood out are Viu Manent, Neyen de Aplata, and Clos Apalta which is impressive!
West of the Andes, in Chile, we find these beautiful green valleys and on the other side in Argentina the land is quite dry-looking, irrigated by the rivers running east out of the Andes but are equally spectacular.
Mendoza is the base where they should start their wine trip, running north or south are perhaps hundreds of vineyards. The tours of the wineries are an experience , each one trying to outdo the other in architecture, and once you get over the buildings you have the wine tasting. In Mendoza area we can find Casa de Uco , The Vines, Catena Zapata, Salentein and best restaurant Francis Mallmann Siete Fuegos.
In some wineries you will find some quirky stuff, once we went to Montes wines (you can buy them here in Australia) and did the compulsory tour, eventually we got down to the tasting area and the guide open the glass door to show hundreds of barrels, we were confronted with the sound of Gregorian Chants, when we asked why they told us they believed the chants helps the “babies” (meaning barrels) mature the wine!
From coffee tours in Colombia, best restaurants in Lima to wineries in Chile and Argentina, We can help design that perfect tour just for your foodie clients.