From Santiago, our journey took us to Santa Cruz, Chile for a two-night stay. Enroute we stopped at Viu Manent winery.
A special treat at this winery was a tour of the vineyard in horse-drawn carriages followed by a tasting of their fine wines. Our visit wrapped up with lunch.
Our lodgings were at the Hotel Santa Cruz Plaza, a beautiful old hotel in the heart of the city. A stained-glass skylight adorned the elevator shaft and a further stained-glass dome covered the restaurant area. The hotel was across the street from a park and next door to the Colchagua Museum, both of which I visited during our stay.
Without question, the “party” winery of our trip was Viña Echeverría. Presided over by Roberto Echeverría, Sr., it is truly a family operation. Everything was done to make us feel welcome, right down to flying the Canadian flag at the entrance to the property. As we got off the bus we were met by a welcoming party led by Roberto Sr. (Poppa). Our visit began with a presentation on making sparkling wine (presented by Poppa) along with, of course, a sample. Roberto Sr. now specializes in sparkling wines while Roberto Jr. is the chief winemaker for the balance of their wines.
Following the presentation, we went on a tour of the winery before making our way to a garden area where we tasted the many wines the family makes. An incredible barbeque dinner in the garden followed in which the food just kept coming. Post-dinner we enjoyed a trivia contest at which pretty well everyone won some kind of prize. The evening was topped off with drinks on the terrace of the old family home. Roberto Jr. demonstrated his skill at opening wine bottles with a sword! The party would have gone on all night but for the fact we had a fairly lengthy bus ride back to Santa Cruz.
The following morning we checked out of our hotel for our return journey to Santiago, with a stop at Viña La Rosa in the Cachapoal Valley. The gardens surrounding the buildings were gorgeous and of course featured countless rose bushes.
Our visit started with a tasting and a presentation on the effect of terroir on wine. Following the presentation we were taken for a tour of the Cornellana vineyards with, of course, a tasting of Cornellana wines among the vines.
After enjoying the wine and a stroll around the vineyard, we returned to the main property at Vina La Rosa for lunch on the lawn. Not only were we enjoying some incredible wines on our tour of Chile but we were being extremely well fed! Lunch was absolutely delicious.
The following day was our final day in Chile. Early in the morning we boarded our bus for a trip to the seaside cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Viña del Mar featured some beautiful beaches and was obviously a tourist mecca.
In Valparaiso we took a short walking tour through one of the neighbourhoods before taking an old funicular down to the main square. The square, in front of an old naval building, featured a beautiful statue honouring a naval battle of 1879.
We returned to Santiago in time for a final dinner to say farewell to Chile. In the morning we would fly to Mendoza, Argentina.