Many people visit Patagonia to sample delicious Chilean and Argentinian wines in the region’s best vineyards. We actually offer some trips that allow you to not only to trek the highlights of Patagonia but also visit some of Patagonia’s famous wine regions to sample the local products:
Patagonian Lake District Adventure – Sample Cabernet Sauvignons in the Colchagua Valley
South America – Wild Patagonia – Visit the Maipu and Colchagua Valleys en route to beautiful Pucon
Below we speak to Pamela Villablanca about wine in Patagonia and about her role in marketing wines abroad and at home.
So Pamela, tell us a bit about yourself, when did you start working for Andes Wines?
I joined the Andes Wines team early 2011. and before that I was a Veramonte Ambassador for Huneeus Vintners in the US for six years. I was based in California and in the last 2 years was the California Sales Manager for an importer & distributor of South American wines. With vast experience in wine tourism designing and conducting, I educated travel agents in the US to generate a strong image of Chile and understanding of the many possibilities Chile offers for exploration. Andes Wines has 10 years of experience in developing new wine & adventure tours around Chile and Argentina.
So Pamela, what makes Chilean wine so great?
There are so many Chilean wines and all of them have contribute to recognize Chile as a great value and quality. Overall i would say the wines are clean, expressive, sharp and ripe. In the U$ 10 range you will find beautiful expressive fruit. I would recommend to look accurately at the labels and use your judgement to find specific denominations instead of the general. The wines I drink and enjoy come in conscious weight glass bottles, an easy to read label and priced between U$ 13 to U$ 40. In the high end wines, you can find wines that cost over 200 dollars per bottle.
What’s your favorite wine?
My favorite wine has a beautiful bright ruby color, is deep and has a great density. Should include ripe fruits but also flowers and forest. A multi-cultural personality and a great speaker while i swirl the wine in the glass. Velvet in the mouth and long finish. Hard to mention a brand, but for sure the Denominations of Origin like Aconcagua, Rutherford, Alexander and Barosa Valley are recurrent for me.
Where are the best wineries in your opinion?
It’s no secret that Chile posseses amazing world recognized premium DO (Denominacion de origen meaning ‘place name’) like Apalta & Puente Alto, but for me there are extreme areas like Limari that open the spectrum of the tasting profile and offer a great challenge in diversifying the potential of the varieties planted in the country. The wines coming from San Antonio and even the Maipo Alto are becoming quite interesting.
If you had 2 weeks to spend touring wineries in Patagonia, where would you go?
I would go first to Bodega Noemia de Patagonia. The contribution of Condesa Noemi Barone Cinzano to the wine industry in the area has been crucial. She took the oldest vines in abandonment in Patagonia and recovered them. For me its remarkable how women take these type of challenge in this Latitude/solitude. My next visit would be Familia Schroeder for two reasons: wine & archaeology. The vineyard is an emerald shining in contrast with the dry land escape; long days and amazing clear nights to enjoy wines. The gossip about a dinosaur discovery is not a secret anymore, and I want to see it!
How popular is wine tourism in Chile?
I remember when I first designed my wine routes in Chile back in 2002, I was pioneering working for several tourism companies designing these routes. Most of the wineries were not open, drivers & guides did not know about wine or routes. Wine tourism is popular today and so is Chilean wine. Good wine tourism is a hidden secret, same as the good wines. There are big challenges in service and facilities implementation for wineries, restaurants, hotels and b&b, and tour agencies/operators. Colchagus valley in this case was titled few years ago the most important wine region of the world by an important wine magazine and people from all around the world come to visit not just Colchagua, also Casablanca and Maipo Valley.
What are the future plans for Andes Wines? We see that you’re going to run tailor-made wine tours.
Our future plans are endless since our team of professionals is growing, we just founded the first wine private equity fund and opened a highly specialized consulting area. If i shall apply the saying “Bird by Bird”, i could say that our next step is to position the South America tailor-made wine tours. We have fun and very educational wine trip proposals in South America for wine lovers, collectors, enthusiasts and for those from the wine industry who want to travel undercover. We are wine professionals who offer guidance in your wine explorations in South America so you get the best out of it. We will launch the next couple of weeks the “Malbec Wine Route of Argentina and Chile” where visitors will be able to visit wineries that produce Malbec in both sides of the Andes. Also, The “Carmenere Wine Route of Chile” will be a unique tour open for foreign and national visitors and wine lovers.