Main image
4th April
written by Hazel

We headed south from Los Vilos, past Santiago, to the city of San Fernando for the 2011 Fiesta de la Vendmia.  This was the second year this festival occurred and it showcases wines from the Colchagua Valley, which is considered one of the best wine regions in Chile.  We had a blast!

We stayed for two nights in the town at the Hotel España, which was a slightly bizarre place, but not in a bad way.  Half of the interior of the hotel was filled with giant plants and greek looking statues like a strange indoor mini-plaza.  It was a bit shabby, but a nice place to stay and an easy walk from the square with the wine festival.

The festival itself was really well put together and the wine was absolutely awesome.  There were booths all around the main square with the wineries in the middle and all kinds of delicious bbq and ceviche and other tasty foods around the outside.  There were even booths from a couple of local breweries.  The bbq was done over large piles of coals and whole animals were cooked at a time – pork and lamb.  The air smelled like delicious roasting meat, wood smoke and red wine!


During the day we sampled wines from most of the wineries represented.  It was nice that there were three of us because we could spread out the spending of our tasting tickets and share tastes in order to taste more of the wines.  We also each got a wine glass with the festival’s name on it (which we are still trying to figure out how to ship home). 

In the evening the “premium” tasting area opened up and these were the wines that were truly awesome.  Since many of these wines are available outside of Chile I’ll try to sum up a few here.

Santa Helena – This was the favorite winery for all three of us.  Everything they had was delicious.  Justin’s favorite that they had there for tasting was the Notas de Guarda Carmenére.  Mine was the Parras Viejas Cabernet Sauvignon.  I’m not sure which my dad liked best, but I think it was one of those two.  They recommended that we try their “Don” wine, but didn’t have it there for tasting.

Montes – I especially liked their Cabernet/Carmenére blend.

Lapostolle – Another Cabernet Sauvingon that I really enjoyed.  From their website it looks as though they have a really beautiful vineyard.  Not getting to see the vineyards was pretty much the only downside of the festival!

Apaltagua – Justin tasted their Syrah and I tried their Carmenére.  Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of either of them.  They both had a lot of green pepper flavor, which I found unpleasant.  Justin, on the other hand liked them…so worth a shot, but maybe not a total crowd pleaser.

Los Vascos – This was the last wine of the evening, and although I know I liked it a lot I don’t have too much else to say about it.  I tasted a blend which includes a lot of my favorite grapes and I’d really like to try it again sometime when it’s not the very end of the night!

We met some interesting people at the festival and had a great time chatting about music, wine and Chilean history!  We even met several of the festival’s organizers and were very happy to tell them what an amazing time we were having.  The night ended by a concert by a very famous Chilean band, Los Tres.  Check them out!  You can listen to them here or read about them here.  My dad got a copy of their newest album the next day so we got to enjoy it in the car on our way back to Santiago.

I was too busy tasting to take photos, which is too bad because the square was beautiful and the bbqs impressive.  Seriously though, if you ever have the chance, go to this festival!!!!

1 Comment

  1. Hazel

    I really don’t know how I forgot to mention it when I was writing this post, but at the festival I had a couple of guys come up and interview me for live radio! They got a kick out of my broken spanish :)

Leave a Reply