With 200 million liters, Chile is the fourth biggest wine exporter in the world. And as we, and especially Daniela, are big wine lovers, we focused our time in Santiago all around wine.
Soon we realized that there is no public transport going to the wineries and that wine tours are fairly high priced. And high in Chile means Switzerland high, but more about that later. And as our experience with tours in Chile weren’t particularly good, we decided to rent a car. It felt great to regain the freedom we had in Africa and Mexico. We could go everywhere at anytime and didn’t had to rely on anyone. The price was that one of us had to drive but I gladly took that sacrifice.
Our first day in freedom we spent at the Concha y Torro winery. It was a beautiful estate with probably the best waiter we had in a long time. As we were used to poor service in Chile, this was kind of a surprise to us. And therefore we spent most of the afternoon in his restaurant and enjoyed a great cheese and charcuterie plate, several wines and his excellent service.
On our second day we drove to the Santa Rita winery and booked a tour to learn more about the Chilean wine production. We learned that one of their main grape Carmenere was believed to be extinct worldwide. But it has survived in Chile thanks to its four natural borders – the Andes, the ocean, the Atacama Desert and the Antarctic. But it took more than a hundred years to realize that, as the Chilean Carmenere was confused with Merlot.
We also learned that even though because of overproduction and no wine taxes wine prices are fairly low in Chile, the Chileans prefer to drink beer and pisco. That probably explains why they export so much of their wine.