Party Boat in Patagonia
Although winemakers may insist that wine is made in the vineyard, wine marketing undoubtedly needs a much larger canvas. Increasingly, wine journalists and consumers alike are being provided with exotic backstories to add interest and relevance to what is being poured from the bottle.
Earlier this month, I joined a dozen or so other wine writers on a Wines of Chile cruise, which was, as it turned out, the wine cruise to end all wine cruises. Not only were we treated to Zodiac-led excursions to commune with glaciers, Antarctic forests, spectacular waterfalls where we saw colonies of elephant seals, cormorants and penguins, but we also spent four days with 45 winemakers from all parts of Chile, tasting and discussing nearly 100 wines they had made personally, most of which are available in the U.S.
Our home on these frigid waters was the Via Australis, a small adventure cruise ship that sails out of the Chilean port city Punta Arenas into breathtaking, unpopulated fjords so isolated that we were without internet communications for most of the voyage. Pleasantly, it is early summer in Patagonia, daytime temperatures hovered around 50 degrees as we flew about four hours south from Santiago to board the vessel.