Before we left Lima our upstairs neighbor Eldy told us of a few places visit along our route to Cusco. The Tacama vineyard was one of the recommendations and I’m glad she told of us of this place. We set out in a taxi from Huacachina on yet another crazy ride through busy traffic zipping every which way, passing in death defying manners and yet we made it to our destination unscathed. Russ is really starting to like the cab rides. Even with all the seemingly chaotic lawless driving we seem to do just fine and have only been in one fender bender so far.
Tacama is the oldest vineyard in South America and was created in the 1540’s when Francisco de Carabantes brought vine over from the Canary Islands. It was originally started to supply wine to the various religious orders newly established in Lima, which at the time was the capital of the Peruvian royalty. After Spain banned export of Peruvian wine in 1776 it caused the promotion of its distillation and the creation of Pisco, the Peruvian grape liquor. Tacama is a 618 acre vineyard located in the oasis of Ica, Peru. With sandy and rocky subsoil, similar to some of the best vineyards in France, and a temperature range that promotes happy grape production, Tacama produces some amazingly delicious award winning wines. The outer laying area was filled with dilapidated homes and a bumpy road more worthy of a dune buggy than a taxi but entering the vineyard was like entering a different country. Suddenly there was lush greenery, a sprawling tree-lined entrance and an armed guard that wanted our identification before he would admit us. The grounds were breath-taking. And as we walked to the entrance booth to sign up for the free tour I was very happy to see a large green play area with kid equipment. This place knows how to make a wine drinking mom happy!
The tour was very interesting and I learned a few things about wine that I didn’t know, like the different names all mean a different kind of grape. Luckily the tour guide talked in English after he talked in Spanish so we were able to understand. The boys struggled to pay attention at first but this is where I pulled out my purse treats each time they started to fidget and it helped them happily endure. They really enjoyed discovered that wine is made from grapes and the old way of extracting the juice involved stomping on the grapes in a big vat. Rex wants to make wine that way now. We were taken above the production warehouse and given a view and a talk about the current technology and methods used. And then we walked through an area with old presses, vats, barrels and learned that Tacama can produce up to 14 bottles of wine a minute.
And finally it was time to sample the wine! I throughly enjoyed this part with the colorful descriptions of flavors to focus on with each new wine. This is also the part of the tour that Wren decided she was done. Tears and thrashing. I paid Roland two Soles to walk her up and down the hallway in the stroller for my ten minutes of sipping pleasure.
It turns out that I really enjoy the Tacama sparkling wine, Amor De Ica. It’s almost too sweet but so refreshing and crisp that its perfect for this climate.
After the tasting I headed to the gift shop to buy some wine and Russ got a table in the restaurant for lunch where we enjoyed more wine, delicious food and beautiful views. This winery is a real treat and I recommend that anyone traveling through Peru make sure and stop in for the tour and lunch.
As we waited for the taxi, the kids played in the kid area and we all left feeling satisfied with our visit. As promised to the boys, we took a tuk tuk back to the hostel after a quick stop at a grocery store. It was very exciting for the kids and I thought it a fun end to the afternoon. We all fit snugly and enjoyed another crazy drive in Peru.