The Charms of Wine Tourism





Exclusivas Latinoamericanas


In the post-pandemic era, wine tourism is showing a progressive demand, as travelers seek more outdoor experiences, especially in rural areas. The upward trend in this modality in recent years was cut off by COVID-19, but it is now picking up steam again as it has become one of the most sought-after and highly-valued segments of all. The upturn goes without saying in such countries as Spain, where the average spending of wine tourists on the Wine Routes is higher than that of foreign and domestic tourists. Between the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, the length of stay, overnight stays and the level of satisfaction among visitors also increased, penciled in as one of the highest among all tourist options that can be enjoyed in the Iberian nation. Both the primacy of rural and lesscrowded environments, as well as the diversity of activities that can be planned in these spaces, are increasingly luring those who put contact with nature in sustainable and safe scenarios on the front burner when considering their reasons for travel, especially to under-crowded places. Wine tourism emerged in Europe two centuries ago. Also known as wine travel or enotourism, it consists of traveling to a wine-growing area to get to know this realm from the inside: the wineries, the vineyards, the making process and the characteristics of each wine, in the same place where they are produced and next to those tasked with making wine. Those who opt for this alternative can experience the aromas, flavors and body of exquisite wines, guided by expert guides and sommeliers, let alone take a closer look at the grandeur of the plantations, the chance to taste the vines in centuries-old cellars and visit old manor houses. The American continent treasures suggestive and varied destinations for an unforgettable wine tourism experience. Excelencias offers you a glance at these five luxury options: CHILE From north to south, the Wine Tourism Route in Chile begins near the Atacama Desert, in the heights of the Elqui and Limarí valleys, and unfolds southward through the valleys of Aconcagua, Casablanca, San Antonio-leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Colchagua, Curicó and Maule, until it reaches the Itata Valley. This country has blended the tradition and values involved in winemaking with the delivery of a unique experience for the consumer. Grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay are the trophies of Chilean vineyards. Their flavors differ subtly, depending on the latitude where they are grown. Highly recommended are the wines Santa Digna, Manso de Velazco, Cordillera from Bodegas Torres, Casillero del Diablo, Amelia and Don Melchor, Bodegas Concha y Toro, among others. ARGENTINA The success of wine tourism in this country is the result of the commitment and joint work of public and private institutions, the tourism and the wine sectors. Argentine wines are renowned throughout the region, especially red wines. The varieties hailing from Mendoza, where the best sparkling wine in the country is also produced, stand out. Known as one of the international wine capitals and the province with the largest national production, it has more than a thousand wineries that produce millions of hectoliters per year in a range of very diverse varieties. The great extension of grapelands in Mendoza makes it necessary to divide it into zones, since its climatic characteristics and altitude vary: Northern Zone (suitable for fruity whites and young reds), Eastern Zone (with the highest production), Upper Zone of the Mendoza River (where all varieties are produced, especially Malbec) and Uco Valley (cold climate zone, where wines are characterized by more acidity). URUGUAY This is the fourth top wine producing country in South America -trailing behind Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Its wines have a longstanding tradition and are recognized in the world market. It is the only world producer with significant vineyards in even greater quantities than in its native land: Madiran and Irouléguy (southwest of France). In Uruguay, the planted area of this variety represents one third of the vineyards. The Tannat grape is its portent, with a long-lasting, elegant, dignified tannic taste, if aged in barrel, they are worth tasting. The "signature" obtained with Tannat wine opened international markets to other varieties of Uruguayan wines such as Moscatel, and to a lesser extent the red varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the white varieties Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Wine Tourism Association of Uruguay (ATEU) was founded in 2005 to promote and develop the local wine tourism sector. From this organization was born "Los Caminos del Vino", which brings together the best family wineries in Canelones, Montevideo, Maldonado and Colonia and is increasingly chosen by thousands of people. MEXICO Authentic, harmonious and warm wines, Mexico has vineyards in several states. One of them is Baja California, one of the areas that obtains higher quality harvests due to its climate. The vineyards of Ensenada deserve special mention. The main wineries in Baja California are: L. A. Cetto (with an interesting Petit Shiraz), Monte Xanic, Pernod Ricard, Santo Tomás and Casa Pedro Domecq. In the state of Coahuila, the development of this industry is well known, since several wineries have their facilities there; for example: Casa Pedro Domecq and Casa Madero, with its highly-visited Wine Museum. It is also home to the so-called Casa Grande, where visitors can stay, although it is not a traditional hotel. The vineyards are located in three main areas: Arteaga, Parras and Saltillo. In Querétaro, the two municipalities with the best climate for grape production are Tequisquiapan and Ezequiel Montes. Vinos Hidalgo and Freixenet de México are recognized as the main wineries. Aguascalientes, with the wineries La Bordalesa and Dinastía, which also has an interesting wine museum; Sonora, where the world-renowned Casa Pedro Domecq is located, with a very suggestive range of wines; and Durango, with the El Vergel wine company, as the most relevant wine producer, complete the wine map of the country. UNITED STATES Its main wine regions are the West Coast (most of the production takes place in the states of California, the enotourism destination par excellence in the United States), Washington and Oregon, the Rocky Mountain region (mainly Idaho and Colorado) and the southwestern United States (especially Texas and New Mexico). From east to west, the Russian River Valley, an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Sonoma County, California, known for its success with fresh varietals, especially Pinot noir and Chardonnay, should not be missed. Also on this route should be Charlottesville, Virginia, where the Monticello wine circuit, the premier winegrowing circuit in this area, not only treasures a fascinating history and 300+ year old vineyards; it is also nestled in the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains. Napa Valley, California, is the region in the United States with the highest concentration of wineries -more than 400. Thanks to the favorable climatic characteristics, as well as the richness of its soil and geographic diversity, this area produces a great variety of wines and is considered one of the best wine tourism regions in the world. It is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varieties. Fredericksburg, Texas, although less known in the world of wine tourism, is putting itself on the map among the best wine destinations in the country. It has some of the most extensive vineyards in the United States and spectacular scenery. Becker Vineyards stands out as one of the oldest wineries with a fascinating history. Some of the varieties that attract international attention are its Chardonnay, Albariño, and Petite Shirah.