Chilean Wine Country Part II

I had so much to write about my recent trip to the Chilean wine country, I broke it down into two posts.  Read the first part here Chilean Wine Country Part I.  The tourism in Santa Cruz, which is the main town in the heart of the Colchagua valley, is budding.  There are new restaurants popping up and hotels to accommodate the influx of tourists coming to taste the wines.  I spoke with many of our tour guides who said that if you speak English, you’re in high demand in the region.  There are so many job opportunities for locals who speak English and who are in the tourism industry (hmm…incentive to move here?).  Most of the tour guides were freelancers working for multiple wineries.  What I loved most was learning that the wineries only employ women to pick the grapes because they have small hands to pick the very delicate grapes.  The wineries also try to employ the locals year round and not just seasonally.  It’s all a part of their holistic approach to wine making.  Everyone I spoke with asked me if I had a great time because it was important to them that I loved their country just as much as they do.  I feel like I’ve discovered a hidden gem before it gets big.  I’m sure it’s how travelers felt about Belize, the British Virgin Islands, and Costa Rica before they had a tourism boom.

The second half of our trip included a trip to Viu Manent, which was so different than the more modern wineries we visited.  The tour and tasting was set in an old hacienda and we took a carriage ride through the vineyards.  I felt like I was in an old Spanish soap opera set.  After the tour, we had lunch at their restaurant, Rayuela which ended up being our favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz.  The most delicious and fresh food, set in a gorgeous setting in a vineyard.  Lapostolle was like walking into a James Bond set.  The Marnier Lapostolle family are the same owners of Grand Marnier, the world renowned liqueur.  The winery is very modern and has state of the art amenities.  The tasting was held in a gorgeous room with a secret cellar.  My boyfriend and I couldn’t stop ooohing and ahhhing.  Finally, our trip ended at Montgras which comes full circle since my interest in Chilean wines was piqued when I bought a Chilean wine for the first time at my local wine store.  It was a Montgras Carménère that was so delicious and nothing like anything I’ve ever tasted.  I knew at that moment that I needed to go the Chilean wine region.  I hope the Chilean wine region has the attention it deserves and makes a mark in the wine world but I hope it doesn’t lose its sweet charm.

These are some of my favorite moments…