On our first day of wine touring, we went to two wineries plus had a wine pairing lunch at a third. After having a full breakfast in the hotel, we packed up and checked out of our hotel, the Hyatt Centric in Santiago.
The staff at the hotel are so friendly, and the Front Desk manager even assisted us with our luggage! We said goodbye, and muchas gracias, and reminded them we would be back again in 3 days after our wine tour.
We were met at the hotel by Jose, the owner of Uncorked Wine Tours, and after loading all of our luggage (fortunately he had a van!) we were off the start of our 3 day wine tour. We have used Jose’s company twice before, and we always have an outstanding time. Jose warmly welcomed us back as we headed out for our first winery. Our three day wine tour includes wineries in the CasaBlanca Valley, Colchauga Valley, Apalta region, and a two night stay in Santa Cruz. As it was an early Sunday morning in Santiago, the business area where we are staying in the fancy Las Condes section felt deserted, which made for an easy drive as we headed out to the Casa Blanca Valley.
Our first stop was at a small family vineyard in the CasaBlanca Valley, Attilio and Mochi. We were immediately met at the winery by Frank the dog, who welcomed us with a barky, but wagging tail greeting.
The husband and wife owners of Attilio & Mochi winery immigrated to Chile from Brazil several years ago, after previously owning three different non-wine companies. After a 10 day vacation years ago, they decided to simplify their lives and bought a vineyard and moved to Chile! While they had experience with fermentation as they were food scientists, this was a totally new venture for them. That’s what I call determination and passion for wine-making! Angela (the wife of the owner couple) gave us the most incredible and passionate wine tour we’ve had to date! Angela was absolutely amazing and her passion for wine making was incredible; we truly admired her start-up initiative and were so glad to be able to share her passion with us.
Angela personally showed us around the property, and her enthusiastic smile and attitude to wine-making was contagious. We so admired her determination and immigration from Brazil, basically starting over with a new industry, in a different country, with limited wine-making experience. Angela spoke perfect English, and was obviously well educated, but she had such down to earth demeanor that made you instantly feel at home at her property.
Angela showed us throughout their facilities, including these large truck-like containers they use for temperature-controlled wine barrel storage and aging.
We so admired Angela’s passion for wine-making and her major lifestyle change, but it showed in her happiness and passion by doing something she and her husband really wanted to do. Angela poured some Sauvignon Blanc for us directly from the tank for us to try; talk about fresh vino!
As we toured the wine-making facilities, Angela’s husband gave us a barrel tasting of the latest Rose’, which was fresh and enjoyable.
We then had our tasting at a covered outdoor pavilion; quite rustic, but it was a perfect fit for the winery surroundings. Angela stressed throughout our tour and tasting they believe in producing excellent quality wines, over quantity of wines. Serving their wines in Riedel glasses was a subtle proof of quality and perfectionism.
We tasted several wines, along with cheeses and olives, and Angela had even made some yummy homemade bread for us. We met one other couple and their son visiting from Miami, and the five of us had a really enjoyable time tasting the vinos, as well as enjoying the assorted cheeses, mixed nuts, bread and olive oil.
After we finished the tasting Steve (DOS) bought a couple bottles of vino to bring home. We then said goodbye to Angela, and thanked her for her sincere hospitality. Thanks again for sharing your wine passion with us Angela!
Our next stop was at House of Morande, where we had a delicious wine-pairing lunch.
Jose’ joined us for our leisurely lunch, and we had wonderful service along with the food and wine pairings.
Their iconic wine, House of Morande, was beautifully decanted and was very elegant and smooth.
I didn’t take many photos at lunch as we were enjoying it so much, but it was a wonderful multi-course lunch with great vinos. Here we are with our tour guide Jose’.
After lunch, DOS bought a couple bottles at the gift shop, but like all but one of the wineries we visited this trip, no caps were sold. I like collecting wine caps as souvenirs, but I guess the vino will have to do. LOL! The House of Morande did have a nicely decorated shop, showcasing their various varieties and vintages of wines.
From the looks of it, I think DOS had quite a good time at the food and wine pairing!
Here we are heading out to the Jose’s van, along with a couple photos of the property.
Our final stop for the day was at Emiliana Winery. DOS and I had been to Emiliana back in 2015 as part of a pre-cruise stop on our 14 night Celebrity repositioning cruise from Valparaiso to Miami, but it was part of a group tour, and this visit was more leisurely and private.
We started our visit to Emiliana with a tour thru the vineyards, where our local guide pointed out the lots of land used for various varietals.
As we walked thru the vineyards we were shown the Alpaca’s which were on the property that aided in fertilizing the soil. They were also so very cute too!
After touring, we went inside to the tasting room and wine shop area.
This tasting was a bit different than some of the others as was sat at the bar with a couple other couple for our tasting, and had both cheeses and chocolates to sample with our wine. Red vino is always good with heavy chocolate, and this was no exception!
We tried several wines, and wanted to try their top wine “Ge”, but it was only available with 4 glasses purchased or via a bottle. We purchased a bottle of their iconic wine “Ge” and shared it with the others at the bar.
Here is a photo of Steve (DOS) and our tour guide Jose before we left Emiliana.
After leaving Emiliana, we had approximately a two hour drive to Santa Cruz, Chile, where we are staying for the next two nights. As it got dark shortly after we left Emiliana, and with all the vino we had for the day, it was a perfect time to take a nap! I switched seats with DOS, and sat in the back so I could nap a bit, while he chatted with Jose most of the way to Santa Cruz.
By the time we got to Santa Cruz it was dark and nearly 8pm. We checked into our hotel “TerraVina“, brought our luggage in and said by to Jose, who was staying with some friends while in Santa Cruz. DOS and I had stayed at this hotel nearly two years ago, and really loved the quaint and rustic charm of the 17 room hotel, sit in the midst of a vineyard. Here is a photo of the room before heading to dinner.
And a couple exterior photos of the hotel and grounds the next day during daylight.
Since our last visit to TerraVina, the hotel has added a nice restaurant, which we went to on our first night’s stay in Santa Cruz. We had a great English-speaking waiter, who was formerly a Flight Attendant for LATAM, before moving to Santa Cruz. We were pretty tired out from the long travel and wine day, but still had a nice steak dinner for me, and a large chicken for DOS.
Even after sampling vino all day, we still had room for some more red wine. The wine was one of Laura Hartwig’s wines, which is a nearby vineyard we had visited on our last stay in Santa Cruz.
After finishing up dinner, it was time for a shower, and bed. ‘Twas a wonderful first day in Chilean wine country, and to be staying once again at TerraVina. Welcome Back!