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I’m Going to South America With a Wine Importer. Today.

There are so many incredible wine perks to owning a restaurant, like the private wine tasting at Napa Valley’s Trinchero that included a stay at the invitation-only Sutter Home Victorian Inn. That was pretty great, but this next adventurous bonus may be even better. We are heading to Chile and Argentina with Copa Fina Imports for an exclusive tour of select South America wine valleys and their wineries.

That’s right. Ten entire days in South America filled with drinking wine. Lots of it. And there will be meat eating too. Lots of it.
The view at Trinchero

Why you? Peter and I purchase wine for our restaurant from Copa Fina Imports whose President, Shelbi, does frequent research/buying trips to South America. And she decided that she wanted to take some industry folks along for the ride. This is an opportunity for her current clients to not only visit the wineries of the bottles they carry, but also to be introduced to new vineyards.

There are about ten of us going on this trip and we are all in the restaurant/bar business. This should make for some interesting dinner conversation. Watch out Yelp, I am sure at least a couple of hours will be dedicated to you.

This is Shelbi, the president of Copa Fina Imports and our trusted South America guide. Ain’t she cute?
Shelbi from Copa Fina

The South America itinerary is one that I did not have one ounce of input on and I have done absolutely NO research (gasp) on the cities we will be visiting, except to check the weather to know what to pack. A girl has to be fashionably prepared. I am purely going with the flow on this trip and from the looks of Copa Fina’s itinerary the flow is going to be pretty damn amazing.

I won’t torture you with the entire itinerary verbatim, just tease with the highlights:

In Chile we will be visiting at least four wineries; Las Mercedes, Laberinto, VIK and William Fevre. Laberinto is an incredible little project producing cool climate Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. It is known to be a ridiculously gorgeous place and the owner, Rafael, has invited us into his personal home for a visit. So cool. We will also be having a meaty dinner and spending the night amongst the vineyards at both Las Mercedes and Hacienda VIK.
VIK Chile, South America
photo credit | VIK

There will be two surprise evenings out on the town in Santiago. I am certain they will include more wine and meat, but hopefully not dancing.

Peter will be mortified. Even after a dozen glasses of wine.

There is also an optional early morning visit to Casablanca Valley, for those of us who are not too hungover. I haven’t been hungover in more than fifteen years, so doing more wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley looks like a pretty sure thing for me.

From here, it’s off to Argentina…

Argentina starts with a traditional Asado dinner at the home of Edgardo from Siete Fincas. He is also sponsoring a lazy day picnic. I like lazy days. Our restaurant carries his delicious Secreto, a Malbec blend, so I am excited to meet him. Other planned meals are at Viamonte for a barbecue, postada de jamon for lunch and one more asado in the winery of Bueyes.

That all adds up to muchos meat.

siete fincas

It won’t all be wine and meat in Argentina, there will also be a visit to downtown Mendoza for a few tourist attractions like Parque de San Martin and Cerro la Gloria.

What I am looking forward to most is visiting local butchers and markets to shop for dinner ingredients that we will be using to cook a traditional Argentinian meal together with Mosso at a beautiful home.

How will this compare to learning to cook paella in Spain? I am hoping to enjoy Argentinian food much more than I liked paella. Which was not much.

A barrel tasting of high end Malbec at Mi Terruño is also on the Argentina agenda. I’m not going to complain.

Of course, it wouldn’t officially be traveling if there wasn’t a bucket list adventure along the way. That adventure is ziplining. And even though I have already ziplined through the Costa Rican rain forest, I have never done it in a Wine Valley of South America.

If you want to be subjected to an obscene overload of wine and meat photographs during my South America travels please like my Facebook Fan Page.



  1. Wow, this sounds amazing and I am super jealous :-)

    • It will be my first time in South America and it sounds like it will be a GREAT introduction :)

  2. This sounds amazing! Love doing wine tours…feels like I learn something new every time (including finding those great little bottles that are not carried in the local shops!) Wish I was tagging along…sounds like this is a wine tour with a difference! Love that you will be going with your fellow restauranteurs….no need to say enjoy…I already know that you will!

    • I am certain I will be learning a lot! I just hope I can remember it all after drinking wine!

  3. JEALOUS! Sounds amazing, can’t wait to read about your trip!

    • Thanks! I’m super excited, just like I get before any trip :)

  4. So jealous of your trip!! You’re beginning to convince me that owning my own restaurant should be my ultimate goal in life…

    • Owning a restaurant definitely has its perks, but most of the time it’s just a crapload of work :)

  5. South American wines are amazing. Standouts for us were Cab sav and sav blanc in Chile, Torrontes and Malbec in Argentina and pretty much everything we tasted in Uruguay. Enjoy!

    • So far, I agree with you on the Sauv Blanc. We have had some tastey ones in the past couple of days!

  6. Awesome! Can’t wait to hear all about the trip!!!

    • I can tell you that so far there has been A LOT of wine drinking!

  7. Dear Annette,
    you have to come to Puglia! Our fascinating region in South Italy is one of the “Top Ten Wine Travel Destination in the World 2013” (take a look here: You have to try a Puglia food&wine experience! :)


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