URUGUAY WINERIES – TOURIST WINE TRAILS OF URUGUAY
In recent years, Uruguay wineries have developed Wine Trails in striking landscapes connected directly to winery owners for tourists to enjoy wine and nature and interaction with locals.
Uruguay´s privileged geographical position between parallels 30 and 35 and its maritime climate, has turned it into a leading country in the production of fine wine. Beneath its green pasture, Uruguay’s clay soils get the right amount of rain and sun, turning into the perfect cradle for the growth of vineyards without the need for artificial irrigation.
Like the best wine regions of Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, wines from Uruguay are generally lower in alcohol because of their morphological ripening grape, achieving only 12-12.5% percent of the potential alcohol. In addition, Uruguay wines reach a good natural balance between acidity and fruit with timid tannins.
With 9000 hectares cultivated and harvested by hand, the country has achieved international recognition of the country´s brand with delightful and sophisticated wines. Uruguay´s strategy is clearly quality over quantity, taking a close look at the setup, history and improvement of natural products, it translates into better and international award winning wines year after year.
Following the Path of Uruguayan Wine
In recent years, Uruguay wineries have embarked on an energetic and vigorous process of conversion of vineyards and wineries to turn them into touristic destination places.
The new trails are trying to develop connectivity between producers, small farms, lodging facilities and artisanship as well as bird watching and trekking. The purpose is to educate the traveller and provide funds for the conservation of vital resources and it is of huge economic benefit for the local community. Whenever tourists explore small farms and wineries, they help connect producers that at times are cornered in such a competitive regional market with wine that comes from other Argentina and Chile at lower costs.
The Wine Trail is an initiative of the Association of Uruguay Wine Tourism that seeks to promote wine tourism and disseminate its own identity, culture, its lifestyle and the passion Uruguayan wineries and vineyard owners have for wine production.
Participating wineries are located in different areas of the country mainly in Montevideo, Canelones, Maldonado, Salto and Rivera and offer visitors different sensory and cultural experiences to enter the peculiarities of the world of Uruguayan wine. One of them is to connect visitors to the region and its history.
The initiative consists of the wineries: Alto de la Ballena, Bouza Bodega Boutique, Reinaldo De Lucca, Antigua Bodega Stagnari, Marichal, Vineyards and Winery Santa Rosa, Vinos Finos J. Carrau, Old Castle, Filgueira, Juanico, Vinos Finos H . Stagnari, Viña Varela Zarranz and Vineyard Vientos.
Who are our Visitors?
Wine trails is a worldwide destination product and several international and local agents have tours booked throughout the year.
In the last years, two different types of wine seekers have ventured to Uruguay: Those who are willing to travel 12,000 miles to meet a special wine, a varietal, or wineries and the people who made it. On the other, occasional foreign tourists mostly from cruises, who choose to visit a winery as an optional excursion to enhance their holiday and who may or not have little knowledge about wine.
No one is better than the other – it’s just different. It is a critical time for Uruguay to decide which direction wine tourism should head towards. The Wine Trail is a positive and connecting path because it understands these are two different markets and reacts to them in a different way.
However, Uruguay needs to establish a stronger image as a producer of quality wine country and should focus on a campaign to attract, on the one hand, the true wine lovers, and on the other, the tourists in general, highlighting the wine as part of the experience of knowing the country.
It also should be taken into account, that visitors that come to Latin America on a 12 to 14 days trip are attracted by their knowledge of Chile and Argentina, where there is a much more developed marketing and online offer and they will be surprised by Uruguay’s undiscovered secrets.
Uruguay wine organizers must foresee, that it is very difficult to organize an isolated tour to Uruguay where the reception of the wineries and the treatment received is excellent, but it is difficult to sell. So regional wine tours Chile, Argentina (Mendoza, Salta, Iguazu, and Buenos Aires) and Uruguay offer 3 or 4 nights in Uruguay at the end of the tour.
The sequence of placing Uruguay at the end is a well thought out plan. Chile is like in California, everything is very well organized and they have a structure of trained personnel but never get to know the winemaker unless a fortune is paid. In Argentina, there are two variants, there are very well organized wineries and there are other smaller ones where you can receive a more personalized service. When the groups finally reach Uruguay, it is like touching the sky. You can meet the smiling friendly and non-pretentious winery owner nobody prevents the relationship with the winemaker and a friendly talk during the visit. That is worth gold. These visitors are not interested in having a row of six glasses Riedel to taste, what they want is meet the real makers of wine. This is what is unique about the wine of Uruguay.
Our portion of wealth in fact is what we always complain about in Uruguay: being a small country. Yes, Uruguay is distinctive, but most important is that the Uruguayan winemaker makes wine that he likes; he is less interested in making a wine for export like as in Chile and Mendoza, where development aims adaptation to international taste.
Visitors are always very positive, and when they return to their countries seek to acquire wines to share with friends. This is a slow but much more effective and long term promotion of Uruguayan wines.
It is very important Uruguay is present at fairs and conducts tastings around the world, because this helps them to get to know their audience. It is essential to deliver generic information on these opportunities and make locals and winery owners aware, that it is better to build a long-term strategy for wine experts and not a short-term project to summon the visitors.
Uruguay is unique and should make campaigns with more targeted promotion, should offer different advantages of these experiences as well as the possibilities of each winery, something that makes them stand out.
Paying a closer look at the Wine Trails will make both type of visitors discover a new side to Uruguay. Uruguay Wineries also intend to promote a low impact alternative to mass conventional tourism. Environmentalists hope it offers tourists an invaluable understanding of Uruguay´s past and the need to enhance it through innovation.
Wine and Ecological tourism is the fastest growing area in the holiday business in Uruguay aiming to preserve and sustain the diversity of Uruguay`s natural and cultural resources this country has to offer. www.Realestate-in-Uruguay.com offers many different type of properties which could be suitable for wine making or any agro-tourism business.
Mary Ann Thompson