¡Vamos Vendimia!

WineMaker readers and Publisher Brad Ring recently spent a week exploring beautiful wine regions in Chile and Argentina. The group experienced a South American harvest during visits to wineries on either side of the towering Andes Mountains during WineMaker’s Chile-Argentina Wine, Bike & Hike Adventure in March. We visited wineries from the large and well-known like Cono Sur in Chile to the small husband-wife-run Atillio & Mochi for a very personal tour and tasting in Chile’s Casablanca Valley. All along the way we had the chance to walk vineyard rows bursting with fruit, taste ripe grapes on the vine, and meet with local pro winemakers happy to answer questions from North American home winemakers while we enjoyed sampling their wines.

We learned the wonders of a South American asada eating like kings and queens with many of our delicious winery meals cooked a few feet away from our tables over open flame and paired with glasses of Carménère and Cabernet in Chile and Malbec in Argentina. We earned those plates of steak with scenic bike rides through endless vineyards and hikes along ridgelines covered in cacti and grapevines.

We visited in mid-March during the excitement of harvest and we were lucky enough to watch just-picked Malbec grapes being destemmed carefully by hand and moved directly into new French oak barrels for fermentation at Bodega Monteviejo in Argentina’s Uco Valley. We tasted 11 different grape varieties still on the vine for a truly unique side-by-side tasting experience at Viña MontGras in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. Some readers even helped with pre-dinner punchdowns at Flaherty Wines in the Aconcagua Valley of Chile. 

It was a treat to learn about the biodynamic vineyard of Chilean Carménère pioneer Alvaro Espinoza at his Antiyal winery, hiking to see 1,000-year-old Incan petroglyphs before a tour and lunch at Viña In Situ whose logo is one of these same petroglyphs from the hillside above their vineyards, and tasting barrel samples as well as unlabeled 16-year-old Malbecs at Hacienda del Plata in Mendoza, Argentina. And it was a trip made extra special by sharing it with 18 fellow home winemakers passionate about wine and winemaking while exploring the mountains, valleys, and special culture of wine regions in both Chile and Argentina.

Our next WineMaker trip with space available will be a South Africa Wine & Safari Adventure next March 18–26, 2024. Details on this trip combining both winery tours and a wildlife safari can be found at winemakermag.com/trip. We hope you can join us on a future WineMaker adventure. ¡Salud!