Savouring the wines of the Andes

by on 6th October, 2017

Savouring the wines

South America and in particular Chile and Argentina have placed themselves firmly on the map with their fine good value wines.

For those of us who like a wee tipple, a glass or two with some good food or in a spectacular location after a  great day of adventures is heaven.


At Andean Trails, we have all had the privilege of a glass of wine to remember.


Tom, who has had a few opportunities says:

“Best advice is go there and try what you don’t know. I’ve drank many a hearty Malbec because that’s what I love, but….

I would love to head back to Uyuni with a bottle of Bolivian Tannat, a red I knew nothing about before landing in Bolivia and soon became a favourite. As boisterous as its Argentinian neighbour, there are lots of good quality Tannats available throughout Bolivia, and they’re not expensive either.

I also had the best glass of cold white Torrontes in a vineyard in Cafayate, Argentina once.”



Our  Kat, whose tastes are not so lofty,  says:

“In my backpacker days I bought Ecuadorian white wine in a tetra pack. I can’t say I’d recommend it, or repeat the experience! And that is putting it politely.

Favourite wine experience?  Sat outside our tent with my now husband, at a remote camping spot with views over the Beagle Channel, sharing a bottle of Argentine Malbec, drunk rather unceremoniously from a plastic beaker but tasting ever so delicious. ”


However, the loftiest of all is Alan. He says:

“One of these days I would like to sip a glass of good Chilean Carmenere at the Tierra Patagonia Hotel, after a fun and fulfilling active day, just contemplating the surrounding scenery.

A chilled glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if from the Casablanca Valley in Chile, evokes memories of sitting outside in the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama at night, staring at the clear skies which look like someone switched on the fairy lights with the frequent sparkle of a shooting star or satellite going past”.


Wine and Tourism

Chile is world renowned for its wines and the main wine growing valleys surround the capital, Santiago. Day tours can be arranged from the city to famous wineries such as Concha y ToroSanta Rita and Undurraga. The Casablanca Valley, famous for the quality of its white wines, is half way between Santiago and the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar.

The Colchagua Valley is a two hour drive South of Santiago and well worth a couple of days, staying at a vineyard or one of the boutique hotels in the area, complimenting this with winery visits and if more active some horse riding, walking or biking. This area is also the heartland of Chile’s traditional customs and where you will find the “Huaso” (Chilean cowboy) and more.

Finishing your holiday to Chile with a few days exploring the countryside and wines of central Chile can be the icing on the cake.


Argentina and especially its Malbec wines, has taken the world by storm. Mendoza, just across the Andes from Santiago, is the centre of the wine industry. The city is known as the gateway to Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, as well as a centre for adventure activities such as rafting and horse riding. Wine is now a major draw for tourism to the city with many options of hotels out in the wine country or day tours from  the city itself. This has also led to a gastronomic boom and many fine restaurants  – including those owned by local celebrity chefs such as Francis Mallman – are to be found in the area. Come to Mendoza and play hard (or just enjoy), eat well, sip fine wine and sleep deep.


Other countries such as Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay are all producing good wines although the tourism sector  has not yet developed sufficiently to create wine based itineraries.

However, do have a glass of the local wine in your dream setting on your next South American holiday, savour the moment. Then, in the future, do have a similar glass and relive the moment. Just avoid Kat’s example of the Ecuadoran tetra pack and you won’t go wrong.


If you are planning a holiday to South America and would like to include wine tourism into your itinerary, do get in touch with us at Andean Trails to start planning your opulent, refined,  silky, steely, structured or just simply tasty South American Adventure.


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