Chile - Itinerary

Day 1-Depart the USA
Depart the USA aboard your overnight flight to Santiago, Chile.

Day 2-Arrival in Santiago, Chile
Welcome to Chile! Meet your driver and host just outside customs and head into our beloved capital city. Check into your hotel and spend the afternoon exploring on your own.

Day 3-Delectable Santiago
Meet Liz in your hotel lobby; set off to explore the labyrinth of stands at Santiago’s sprawling wholesale market dating back to the late 1800s. A picturesque mishmash of stalls, vendors hawk the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables, local cheeses, a plethora of meats, mounds of spices, and indigenous foodstuffs like pine nuts from the Araucaria tree or merkén (smoked chili). Shop with Liz and select the über fresh produce from her caseros that become the components of lunch. Pull up a stool with Carmen, a talented old school cook and ample some of the delicious treats for a satisfying late morning snack. Visit the fish market & our favorite monger and watch as they expertly shuck straight-from-the-sea-fresh razor clams. Pick up some tasty cheese before journeying south to the village of Pirque in the countryside near Santiago. Lunch is at a non-profit organic farm and ecological high school. Get to know the farm’s organic products including the native Araucano chickens that lay “blue” eggs. We then savor a luncheon in the 19th century villa garden with, of course, home grown ingredients. Dishes are inspired from authentic recipes, regional cooking techniques, and the fantastic ingredients. Return to Santiago in the late afternoon.

Day 4-Santiago / Colchagua Valley
This morning we leave Santiago (and Liz..) and head south to the personal project of Chile’s pioneer organic and biodynamic winemaker. Walk through the lovely vineyards dotted with wild flowers and horses plowing as they explain how they cultivate their grapes in harmony with nature. The results are dynamite, robust reds that express the passion of the people who make this wine. Continue to the Cachapoal Valley to a winery nestled in the foothills of the Andes. The owners’ sole objective was to produce a Chilean grand cru & no detail has been spared in this exquisite project. A tasting of the outstanding 2003 vintage is included. Stop for lunch at the restaurant of a gorgeous colonial winery. Farther south, visit innovative friends who produce premium olive oil on their farm. Walk through the process of Olive Oil making, and taste the different varieties. On to Chile’s most chic, innovating, and highly acclaimed winery, Casa Lapotolle. Owned by the Marnier family, this extraordinary winery had produced the Clos Apalta (2005), named as the 2008 Wine of Year by Wine Spectator. This exquisite property also boasts your lodging for tonight, the exclusive Casa Lapotolle Residences. Perched like eagles above the village of Apalta, the four casitas offer the valley’s most prized view. Dinner tonight is at the lodge with elegant, simple food paired with house wines.

Day 5-Colchagua Valley
Drive to the western fringes of Colchagua to visit a dairy farm. The owner Patricia is a passionate cheese maker who will be glad to share with you some of her addictive milk caramel and exquisite fresh cheeses (hand-made every day). Meet her family in a casual tasting at their private home. Next, explore the Chilean “brother” of Bordeaux First Growth Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Tour this impressive operation and enjoy premium wine tasting. Lunch is at a traditional winery in their chirpy hacienda garden during warm weather (or cozy barrel cellar in winter). Continue to Colchagua’s newest and most prestigious “garage wineries”. With only five bottled vintages, they produce one single Cabernet-Carmenere blend from 115 year-old rootstock. Walk amid the craggy vines and admire the restored colonial cellar. Finish with a private tasting of the exquisite 2006 harvest with remarkable finesse. A short drive away is the charming colonial town of Santa Cruz, the epicenter of the valley. Be welcomed into the private home of our local friends whose passion is making homemade liquors, a centuries-old tradition. Learn about this fascinating art and delight in the fruits of their labor. A Nouveau Chilean dinner is served at a spectacular bistro.

Day 6-Colchagua Valley / Santiago / Mendoza (Argentina)
Journey over the southwestern hills to the area known as Lolol, Colchagua Valley’s cradle of rustic traditions, Chilean cowboys and typical colonial architecture. Visit a Bordeaux-based winery whose vision brought them to Chile to make their elegant, French-style wines. Our their vines and surrounding hills with and enjoy a tasting of their premium wines. Early lunch at a local restaurant, specializes is traditional country-style barbeques. Return to Santiago airport and board your late afternoon flight to Mendoza, Argentina. Transfer to the luxurious Cavas Wine Lodge. Surrounded by vineyards with panoramic views of the Andes, this magical place has impeccable service, spacious rooms, a world-class spa, and restaurant.

Day 7-Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
Explore the different microclimates in the region of Luján de Cuyo to understand Malbec and its unique expression. To kick off the fun, you are invited to see how old vine, low yield Malbec is carefully crafted by winemaker Roberto de la Mota, in the turn-of-the-century bodega. Then, drive to the area known as Lunlunta to visit a winery whose owner and winemaker is considered one of the fathers of Mendocino terroir. Try their hand-crafted, non-exported wines and visit this enchanting place with the family. This is as local as it gets! Lunch today is a five-course gourmet endeavor at a family-owned estate where each dish is skillfully paired with their full line of Malbec, from rosé to the reserva. Finally, just around the corner, is the petit bodega of the Bressia family. Let them welcome you into their winery just like family. They love to share their craft and satiny, ripe wines. Enjoy a leisurely tasting over regional cheeses with lots of conversation. Return to Cavas in the late afternoon.

Day 8-Uco Valley, Mendoza / Buenos Aires
This morning, head south to the high-altitude Uco Valley, where many wineries are experimenting with new varieties like Cabernet, Tempranillo, and Syrah. A lush agricultural valley amid a parched desert, the valley floor is dotted by almond trees and orchards. Head for a modern winery with enchanting views of the Andes. Join one of Mendoza’s top young chefs in the open kitchen for a private hands-on cooking lesson and exploration of Argentina’s regional cuisines using the freshest local products. Later, dig in and lunch on your creations with paired house wines. Near the town of Tupungato, in the shadow of the volcano, drop by our favorite boutique operation where everything is made in miniature and quality is not just a goal—it’s their motto! Try their earthy Cabernet and lush Malbec in a full tasting with winemaking staff. Drive to the southern end Uco to La Consulta. One of Argentina’s new wine superstars, the stunning location and futuristic architecture is the vision of a Spanish entrepreneur whose house specialty is Tempranillo. Check out this singular bodega and top wines on a fascinating tour with the winemaker. Transfer to the Mendoza airport for your departing flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival transfer to your hotel.

Day 9-Buenos Aires
Built in the 19th century, this city rivals the architecture and sophistication of Paris. Morning tour begins at the Plaza de Mayo, continuing to Casa Rosada, the president’s residence and Avenida 9 de Julio, the world’s widest boulevard. Visit the Recoleta Cemetery and the tomb of Evita Peron. En route we stop at the historic Café Tortoni considered by many to be the finest example of 19th century’s Buenos Aires. Enjoy delicious cup of coffee and typical pastry. On to the Italian Boca District, the Cathedral and the Tomb of General Jose de San Martin. View the magnificent Teatro Colon Opera House; its design was inspired by the exquisite Opera Garnier in Paris. This evening, explore on your own the endless options for fine dining and nightlife of this cosmopolitan city.

Day 10-Depart Buenos Aires / U.S.A.
Day at leisure. Stroll around this cosmopolitan city with its chic sidewalk cafés or enjoy some last minute shopping before your evening transfer to the airport for the return flight to the U.S.A.