I was sitting at the dinner table last night in the personal home of an Argentine winery owner, with his wife and the winemaker, and felt an overwhelming inspiration to write you all a quick note from South America.
For the past week I have been doing a once-in-a-lifetime wine tour of Chile and Argentina with a wine importer from California. The experience is unlike no other.
We have tasted over 60 varieties of wine, some not even bottled, been welcomed into the homes of winemakers and been treated like we are family. We have bonded over empanadas, heard heartwarming stories and have had so many laughs. And even learned a few bad Spanish words.
What we have heard the most is “please, treat this place like your home”. And we did. Everywhere.
To my complete surprise there has been array of emotions since my time here:
I was brought to tears by a story told by the winemaker at Bueyes about how proud his mom was when he sold his first pallet of wine to America. So proud, the entire town knew by the time he got home from work that evening.
I felt compassion for the humble owner of Lafken Winery whose small and dedicated production was obviously a labor of love. A love that is tasted.
I felt comforted by Edgardo from Siete Fincas as we sat around his dinner table sharing asado and trying to guess the secret to his Secreto wine. I will never tell.
I felt enlightened at the uber trendy VIK as we had an informational formal tasting and then made our very own wine blend.
There is so much more. But, most of all I have felt grateful for being a part of an experience that could not possibly be duplicated.
There is no disguising the hard work they have done to live their dreams of making wine. And it is inspiring.
Each of their wines tell a story, one of the land, the grapes, the soil and their love of what they do. And even though I do not want to make wine, I do want to live a life filled with their passion, but with experiences that tell my own story.
It has been incredible how good wine, food and passion can bring a bunch of strangers together.
No doubt, people will ask me, “did you fall in love with South America?” The answer is, “not as much as I fell in love with the people.”
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