A Bumper Crop of Reasons to Visit Chile, by Christine Negroni. Go How blog – US.March 2012
Viu Manent – When the director of tourism at a vineyard starts talking about adding day care, a small hotel and a wedding chapel to the place, you got to figure there’s more to do at this winery than just drink wine. You figured right.
Horse drawn carriage one of many activities at Viu Manent
Viu Manent is located in Santa Cruz, a good 2-hour drive through breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the valley called Colchagua. When we arrived, we were taken by horse drawn carriage into the fields where the Chardonnay grapes, at their peak and ready for plucking, were waiting for us to help harvest.
A seasoned professional shows tourists how it is done.
Arm wrestling Chardonnay grapes is tougher than it looks.
Truth be told, there were professionals in the fields who kept right on working while we tourists fumbled with our aprons, gloves, hats and clippers and snipped bunches of white grapes like the neophytes we were. There is nothing like wrestling with the tenacious tendrils of a vine unwilling to surrender its fruit to make one appreciate the skill of the folks who do this day in and day out.
Viu Manent doesn’t just let you pick the grapes, they let you follow their path. We saw the presses, the fermentation, the labs, the casks and finally, we rested under a grape arbor at the winery’s lovely restaurant where we washed down lunch with several bottles of the house product.
Viu Manent has an art gallery (ask to hear the stories that go along with the original art on the labels) and a gift shop. Stay tuned, someday soon they’ll offer overnight accommodations, too.