I always feel with travel that it is worth combining it with another love that you have, a love of surfing can take you on trips to Hawaii and Nicaragua, a passion for food can take you to the Orient, to Italy and the streets of Mexico and a love of animals can take you to the African planes or the jungles of Brazil. One of my passions is wine, I love it, not just drinking it but tasting it, learning about its production and experiencing the places where it is made. This passion has taken me through Europe from the vineyards of France and Germany and to the huge grape production lands of South Africa. Last year I completed another wine-based travel adventure and headed through South America, this continent produces some of the finest new-World wines on the planet and I just had to go and see their techniques, taste the wine and of course, explore the surrounding areas. Here are my 5 favorite places that I visited during my wine-tasting travel experience though South America.
The quality of the wine here owes to long summers that give the vines the best possible chance to grow and absorb all of that radiant sunshine. Argentina produces 70% of the World’s Malbec and all of the best stuff comes from Mendoza, they produce other wines such as Salta and Chardonnay but it was the Malbec that I came for. There are numerous vineyards here, private and corporate and tours are easy to come by. The area of Mendoza is mountainous and there are plenty of adventurous activities to do and beautiful places to stay.
Santa Cruz Wineries, Chile
At the feet of the Andes is where some of Chile’s best wine is produced, particularly their World-famous Carmenere, and I just had to taste it. I heard about a wine-train that takes people to the Santa Cruz wineries, tasting on the train and learning about production before arriving at the beautiful vineyard, I was sold and I wasn’t disappointed, traditional dance, wine tasting and education, the perfect trip and one that you can’t afford to miss.
In the Canelones region just outside Montevideo is where you will find the best Uruguayan wines, an underrated region that produce some outstanding white wines. Uruguay may not be top of your list for South american places to visit but you can get to Montevideo in just 1 hour by boat from Buenos Aires. If you get to Uruguay, make sure you try their Tannat, a beautiful local, fruity wine.
Ain Karim, Colombia
I really wasn’t expecting at trip to Colombia on my wine-tasting journey but when I heard that there is a winery there that produced a German Riesling and a Pinot Noir, I had to go. The way that this winery has combated the poor grape growing conditions of Colombia is to grow their grapes at high altitude thus avoiding the searing heat. It took my a day or two to make my way up to Ain Karim but when I got there I tasted some absolutely stunning wine. Their Riesling cannot be mass produced due to their set up so you’re never going to see it in the shops, a perfect excuse to go to Colombia!