The Elqui/Limari Piscos and Wine Routes: Discover the Chilean Vine-growing Origins and Evolution, by TEMBETA Tour Operator

This touristic route has been designed to show the local and foreign traveler the valleys that have produced one of the world’s most aromatic distillates, as well as the fruitiest and most mineral wines. It also allows to show the origins and evolution of Chilean wine and pisco started by the mythical conqueror Francisco de Aguirre, first mayor of Santiago de Chile in 1541, re-founder of La Serena in 1549 and main encomendero of the Elqui Valley, where the country’s first grape harvests and wine celebrations took place.


Francisco de Aguirre, amazed by the number of mineral, food and geographical wealth of Coquimbo, Andacollo, Elqui, Limarí and Atacama, decided to open a route to the Atlantic Ocean in order to promote this wealth in Spain and start new commercial routes. For this purpose, he crossed The Andes in order to reach the famous mouth of the Río de la Plata, future city of Buenos Aires, to thus keep La Serena connected with the Atlantic and Europe. This is how, in the middle of the way between The Andes and the Atlantic Ocean, he established a rest place for travelers, explorers and traders, which became Argentina’s oldest city, Santiago del Estero, cradle of the Argentinean wine. This pioneering bi-oceanic corridor project became South America’s oldest commercial route.


This amazing feat caused the Elqui Valley to become well-known from the beginning as a mythical valley of generous wines and South America’s most aromatic alcohol, which in time had great achievements such as supplying one of the world’s largest cities back then, Potosí, which ran out of alcohol after the heavy earthquakes that hit the Peruvian coast and destroyed 90% of the Ica, Arequipa and Moquehua wine cellars and distilleries. The Elqui’s fruity, aromatic wines and distillates, as well as their alcoholic potential caused so much excitement in Potosí, which led to the arrival of important Peruvian families to La Serena and Coquimbo, such as the Piñera and Egaña. These Elqui alcohols also contributed to the Chilean victories in the Pacific War against Peru, and the Independence War against Spain, thanks to the courage and bravery of the Coquimbo battalion formed by Elqui and Limari miners and farmers, who had easy access to the alcohol, which helped them win and create the “chupilca del diablo”, one of the most amazing drinks in the history of alcohol.


Today, the Elqui and Limari Valleys are well-noted by their piscos, nectar wines, pajaretes [sweet wines], late harvest wines and their new author wines, advanced and with a sense of place such as the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viogner, Moscatel, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Carignan, Garnacha and Carmenere, which have been chosen the best of Chile and the world in different competitions. Viña Falernia, Viña Tabali, Viñedos de Alcohuaz, Viña Francisco de Aguirre, Maycas del Limari, Tololo (exTamaya) have had remarkable achievements, as well as a series of quite interesting projects such as the Gemma and Azur sparkling wines, the Guayacan brewery and the pisco distillates of Los Nichos, Kappa, Waqar, Ovalle, Bauza, Chañaral de Caren only to mention the most important ones.


Despite all this cultural heritage, as well as industrial and geographical wealth of the Coquimbo Region, so far there was no official Wine and Pisco Route offered by expert guides and sommeliers, to show this attraction in this part of the country. This time, Turismo TEMBETA Tour Operator surprises us with this new tour and offers a unique and exclusive route in an attractive and exciting program that goes from 1 day to 6 days/5 nights, to show in a didactical and fun way, the origins and evolution of Chile’s most recognized cultural treasures, its wines and piscos.


Click here to see routes, prices, and how to contact us.

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