Travels With Wine header image 1

The Wine Lands of Chile & Argentina

August 24th, 2007-- by Allan Wright

Wow! I must admit I am a bit biased in favor of South America. I love the culture, the language, the people, the scenery, and the diversity of experiences a traveler can enjoy. I have spent fantastic vacations in Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador in the past.

But when I visited the Chilean and Argentinian wine areas, I was impressed despite my high expectations.

You already know the wines of Chile and Argentina have become very popular in recent years. What is not yet quite so popular, but getting there, is wine tourism to these areas – especially our “active” brand of wine tourism. While Tuscany, Burgundy, and other European areas are famous as places one can bike on rolling roads or walk along hillside paths, this type of tourism is not yet so established in South America’s wine lands.

In Chile, I found only two vineyards that had established hikes. I went on one with four locals at ViƱa Montes in the Apalta Valley and found it interesting. It was quite organized, starting with a shuttle in a converted tractor to the edge of the vineyards. We had a vineyard employee as a guide and he led us on a steep trail straight up the hillside in back of the vineyards.

Now the view from the top was exceptional but this was a good example of why Zephyr Adventures, with our adventure travel experience, will be able to bring good things to the world of wine travel. First, the trail was much too difficult for most people – straight up with few switchbacks and poor traction. Second, the trail wasn’t even in the vineyards!

After we were done, I pointed out a road that led around the vineyard, halfway up the hill, with beautiful views of the valley all the way around. It was the perfect path for a vineyard hike and the one we will do in 2008.

In Argentina I had a similar experience. There, in the wine area centered on the city of Mendoza, I found three new companies running bike tours in the wine areas. We joined one of the groups and the young, exuberant owner gave us a talk and sent us on our way. Honestly, it was a path we would never choose for our biking adventures – roads with no shoulders, plenty of trucks, and quite a few potholes. While they have the right idea, they don’t yet have the advantage of having been to the world’s best biking areas.

Working with our local guide, Lorena, we came up with two vineyard hikes and a nice biking route for the Argentina portion of our tours.

What I haven’t mentioned are all the other things that will make this tour fantastic. The wines are superb. The owners and vintners are accessible and interesting. The food is excellent, the hotels of high quality, and the scenery is spectacular. With a few tweaks of the activities, this will be a remarkable tour.

Tags: Allan Wright · Argentina · Chile

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment