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Chile: a luxury, organic wine tour like no other

Visiting Chile? Put this luxury vineyard tour on your list. I’ve lived in Santiago for over a year, and I’ve only just got round to discovering one of the best wine experiences in the world. Letting it breathe Emiliana Organic Vineyards is located just 45 minutes from Santiago, yet it feels like a world away. In truth, Emiliana is more than a vineyard. It’s a nature reserve, an escape to the country, a haven of tranquility. If you’re struggling with the pollution, the crowds or the chaos of the capital, if you need a boost after a long flight, or if you just love really good wine, put this exclusive vineyard tour on your list. All about the wine Yes, the surroundings are beautiful, but that’s not the reason I first found out about Emiliana. At least for my friends here, it’s all about the organic wine, which has won numerous taste awards. Its premium end ‘Ge’ and Coyam’ vintages can be found in some of the most stylish restaurants in town, and its entry level ‘Adobe’ is popular even with the fussiest of my wine snob friends. If you’re reading this crying into your Merlot because you can’t make the trip to Chile (sorry for you!) then good news: you can buy Emiliana wine around the world, though more specialist wine retailers. In the US its entry level wine, Adobe, is called ‘Natura’ and in Ireland it’s called ‘Eco’. My favourite was the rich and bold Cabernet Sauvignon, however its silky smooth Carmenere is the most popular, I’m told. The beauty within nature Emiliana wine isn’t just organic, it’s also biodynamic. In case you’re wondering, ‘biodynamic’ is a type of organic farming process which goes one step further than organic. It respects the natural harmony between the flora, fauna and even the solar system for a more positive impact on the environment, the soil and consequently the wine. Pioneers in the organic wine movement, Emiliana were the first in Latin America to espouse biodynamic wine production. The vineyard shuns all pesticides, solar energy helps drive production, alpacas munch away as natural lawn mowers and recycling bins abound. Even old wine barrels are upcycled into very hip sunglasses. Child and parent friendly  The unspoiled nature stretches as far as the eye can see and even in high season it felt like we had the place for ourselves. With all these beautiful landscapes and all this space to enjoy, it’s a great place for kids. My children spent all afternoon running around, chasing through the vines and spotting the animals. ‘Look, mummy! Fish! Look! Chickens!’ Making your own While my little monsters played, my husband and I got to hard work, making our very own wine. Through the ‘make your own wine’ experience, visitors create a personal blend according to their preferred acidity, sweetness, dryness and so forth. An Emiliana wine expert put us through our paces, getting us to really think about the colour, aroma and taste of three different reds. After this, we mixed our blend, bottled it and corked it… with a little help from our junior assistants. Wining and dining After all this exertion, it was time for a rest so we headed to the restaurant for lunch. We feasted on beautifully fresh tuna ceviche, a rainbow of organic salads from local farms, and a fruit platter which was so flavoursome my child claimed he could taste the mountains. Top tip: be sure to ask for the basil mayonnaise which is perhaps worth a trip in itself. If you’re looking for something more informal, order an organic picnic hamper, a cheese platter or a bottle of red or white, and savour it in the dappled shade of the orchard. Service is speedy, but life here is slow. If you’re anything like us, the only reminder that it’s time to move on is a pinkish glow on the Andes as the sun starts to set. Emiliana is a very special place and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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  1. I’ve visited a couple of organic vineyards. It’s not just the end-product of some great wines that has impressed. The winemakers seem to have a different and closer relationship with the vines. Instead of just thoughtlessly blasting the vines with insecticides and pesticides, they watch and care for the vines. Roses at the end of each row of vines serve as early warning signallers of blight and they encourage the spiders, the fly-catchers, that weave their webs amongst the vine leaves.

    1. Exactly! At first I thought it was just a really beautiful place, but it’s all about the practical side. This is natural biodiversity in practice.

  2. Creating your own wine is living the dream does it get any better than that?

    Though maybe it does. I once had lunch with with two wine experts in London. One opened up by saying that she had been to watch the grape harvest in Bordeaux. The other topped that by saying she had spent a week with a Chilean winemaker as he blended a new wine.

    There are times when I regret not having acquired a wine education.

    1. Well, it’s never too late :-) Now based in Chile, I’m just starting now…

    1. Thank you Rumi! Yes, Chile is a wonderful place and definitely deserves a place on your bucket list.

  3. When I go into a wine shop I often tend to head for the Chilean racks first, I just know that 90% of the time I am going to get outstanding value for money. The fact that these organic wines, even with shipping costs, are still very competitive in European markets leads me to think that producing wine using gentle natural organic methods can be very cost effective. It also makes you question how cost effective some traditional European vineyards are.

    1. Yes, so true. Chilean wine (and indeed a lot of South American wine) is so affordable and even the really top end is often far more affordable than in Europe.
      Chile is not a cheap country, but it’s wine is incredible value considering how great it tastes.

  4. Loving the wine label – did the kids draw and design that? What’s the significance of the 91? You look very content with it.

    And last question – if you had to write the tasting notes on the wine you created – what would they be???

    1. Ha, well yes it was joint family team work. My husband stole the 91 point medal label from another of its premium award winning wines. Shh don’t tell anyone!

      And re your other question, I’m afraid we enjoyed our ‘Mezcla’ wine and I never got a chance to make any notes!

  5. I am a big fan of good wine and I spend almost a third of my income in buying my favorites, most from Napa since I have a membership in one of the wineries there. I think my blood already smells like fermented grapes. I’ve visited a couple of wineries in the past and most of them are in southwest France and in my opinion, they have some of the best wines along with northern California. I hope Chile exceeds my standards and expectations.

  6. Gosh, that is commitment! There are some incredible wineries in Chile. Like everywhere you need to know where to look. Emiliana makes a wonderful day trip, and the premium wines are delicious.

  7. I’ve been thinking a lot about Chilean wine while living as an ex-pat abroad very far from South America. I find it fascinating that the country’s wine is appreciated so far and wide. This was really a great post and I felt like I was there in Chile alongside you and your family. Sounds like it was very relaxing and enjoyable. Basil mayo and tuna ceviche! Excellent.

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