Just wanted to share my responses I just submitted for The Wines of Chile Experience Contest!
If I win, “I will receive a trip for two to Chile, where my dream itinerary will become a reality!”
After the Info/Contact information they ask you to write out your ideal seven-day itinerary exploring the wine regions of Chile by filling out your recommendations for each day. Here is what I wrote!
Day 1: Ask anyone who knows my wine-loving-side what my favorite wine country in the world is … I have always responded … “CHILE!” You can see why participating in this contest is a MUST for me! Even if I am not chosen, I still want to help spread the word (or Tweets!) about how wonderful and delicious Chilean wines are! Not to mention, I am from Texas and the Texan and Chilean flags are practically the same so I was destined to love Chilean wine, haha! Unfortunately I have not been able to afford a trip to Chile (I am still living on a Masters student budget!) but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what I would do when I get there! Day 1 is arrival day and I imagine I would fly into Santiago. After making the long travel, I think spending a night on the town is called for! But that doesn’t mean I won’t have time to explore the bustling wine culture of the big-city. It is only natural to want to visit the wine regions/vineyards of Chile, but it would be a shame to pass over the wine-culture of this big city! I write a wine blog called Vinously Speaking, and I think a “Santiago Wine-Culture” post is a necessity!
Day 2: As you read, I am from Texas. I come from a city there called San Antonio … so I think it is only appropriate for me to begin my Chilean Wine Trip to visit …… the San Antonio Valley!!! I can only imagine how much all the San Antonian’s who read my blog would love to read this post! A San Antonian in San Antonio Valley! They say San Antonio is the patron saint of lost things … I would love get lost in this wine region! The Pacific coast, cool maritime climate … all while sipping on the famous white wines and pairing them with the delicious and readily available seafood?! Sign me up! (I would also HAVE to try the pinot noirs and syrahs of this region too! For blogging purposes ;) I hear some must-see wineries are the first ones established in this valley – Matetic, Garcés Silva and Casa Marín.
Day 3: Being in the San Antonio Valley would be best followed by the Casablanca Valley. Who wouldn’t want to spend two days in the cool coastal climate! I love me some red wine, but Casablanca Valley is known for its delicious Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines and I need to be there to confirm that! =) I hear this region has a very modern feel to it, as wine production began in the 1980s, I think this could make a great post about the wine and the modern architecture! Blogging and tweeting and other social media communication about wine is always better when it is paired with other cultural offerings! I hear some wineries to visit are Veramonte, Casa del Bosque, Catrala, Kingston, Morandé, Concha and Toro, Santa Emiliana and Santa Carolina! How many can you fit in one day? I also hear the restaurant “House of Morandé” is a MUST for foodies like me! And perhaps a visit to the winery Indómita with its mountain-top view of the Casablanca Valley and who needs the Hollywood sign when you have the huge letters of “Viña Indómita”? And being a Texan girl, I have to see the Chilean Cowboys aka “Huasos” horse-riding skills at the winery Puro Caballo. YEEHAW!
Day 4: On to the Cachapoal Valley!! As a red wine lover, in this region, I think I will be in heaven! And you hear about it all the time as it is really gaining an international reputation for premium Cabernets and Merlots! Yumm! One particular area of interest for me would be to visit the wineries that have french investors! I have spent the last two and a half years getting my Master’s in Wine Business in Dijon, France. I have had my fair share of french wine sampling and exploring, I really would love to see what the French are brewing up over there! And how wonderful to see the infusion of French wine-makers from Bordeaux, Alsace, the Loire, etc.? I hear the wineries to see are Altair, Anakena, Chateau Los Boldos, Vik Vineyard, Morandé and Misiones de Rengo. Dreams of these red wine’s deep heavenly aromas of fruit, chocolate and jelly already fill my head! Maybe after all that wine tasting, a small stop at the natural hot springs of Cauquenes are in order! Who wouldn’t want to read my blog post on “Cachapoal Wine Tasting then Cacha’break’ in the Hot Springs?”
Day 5: Oh what a big day!!! Time to visit the “2005 Best Wine Region in the World” (via Wine Enthusiast) the Colchagua Valley !!! Red wine heaven again!! Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet, Carmenere OH MY!! How will I ever squeeze in the thirty five wineries in this valley ?? Sure you don’t want to add a few more days on to this trip for me? Haha! The post for this region would also have to be on “Colchagua Valley Wine & Oenotourism” as I hear this region offers an incredible amount of other wine tourism options as well as other tourism offers – Gastronomy, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Famous Museum-ing =) Visits to Viu Manent (one of the oldest wineries here), Neyen, Casa Silva, Laura Hartwig, Estampa, Montgras, the famous Lapostolle, Clos Apalta and Montes are crucial! Maybe I can sneak in another session with the Chilean cowboys aka “Huasos”!!
Day 6: No time to rest! The world, and my Vinously Speaking Blog readers need to hear of all the endless vinous possibilities of Chile! On to the Maipo Valley today!! And no trip is complete without visiting the oldest wine-producing valley in Chile! Cabernet lovers would be delighted to read they are now in Cabernet Sauvignon land! Maipo has done well to attract the international recognition they deserve for their Cabernets! This region also deserves some visits to the wineries with international investments/affiliations – France, U.S. and Italy! Everyone wants a piece of Chilean wine, no?! And rightfully so! Must-see wineries … well to start there is the famous Concha y Toro, then Almaviva, Antiyal, Aquitania,, Cousino Macul, Haras de Pirque, Paseos del Vino, Perez Cruz, Quebrada de Macul Santa Alicia, El Principal, Santa Rita and William Fevre! I am tongue-twisted now! Oh and just out of principle, I have to check out Chile’s smallest winery here, Corcoran Gallery. Plus, what visit here would be complete without a trip to Vina La Montaña for a ride on their three thousand foot zip-line. Maybe I can try it holding a glass of wine and see if I can make it without spilling it? What a blog video post that would make! Who wants to be the lucky wine in the glass?
Day 7: ALMOST TO THE FINISH LINE! Come On Liver!! YOU CAN DO IT!! Hahaha! For the final day of Chilean Wine Heaven, let’s go to Aconcagua Valley! Red wine country again, but this time for THE Chilean varietal … Carmenere!! This is the place for it, I hear! Maybe a stop at the peak of Mt. Aconcagua, after all it is the highest peak in the western hemisphere! On second thought, maybe I need some training for that! I hear Errazuriz, Von Siebenthal, Viña Sánchez de Loria and Viña San Esteban are the wineries to see! I also read that some wineries of Viña San Esteban contain ancient pre-Columbian petroglyphs. The post after this might just be about liver cleanses, haha! Am I tired from 7 days of travel … yes. Does my liver hate me … yes. Would I do it again … YOU BET YOUR BOTTOM CHILEAN PESO I WOULD!!!
Next they ask you to answer the following questions (1000 words max): 1. How will you incorporate Twitter? 2. What do you know about Chile and Chile’s wine regions? 3. Why should Wines of Chile Experience choose you? 4. If you win, who would you bring to share this experience of tasting, traveling, exploring and tweeting?
Here is what I responded with: How would I incorporate, Twitter? Check out my Twitter history @vinouslyspeakin (no ‘g’) and you will see how avid of a twitter-er I am. I use it to communicate about my wine blog with other wine bloggers/wine lovers, about the wines I taste, commenting/conversing with other Tweeters … On this Chilean Adventure of a Lifetime, I would use Twitter as a way to help my Twitter followers to feel like they are on the trip with me! I would tweet photo links of the vineyard views, foods I eat, quotes from people/winemakers I meet, zip-lines I fly across, and Chilean ‘huasos’ I learn to lasso from! Twitter is not there for me to use it as a megaphone to promote Chilean wine … it is there as an online telephone (or smartphone!) to communicate on a personal level to all the wine drinkers out there on what they should be envisioning every time they sip on a glass of Chilean wine! I want to use Twitter to help them paint a picture of what is hiding in each bottle of Chilean wine!
And how much do I know about Chilean wine? As I mentioned before, Chile IS my favorite wine country in the world. I read about it online, in magazines and in wine books. I ‘travel’ there online via wine blogs, google images, and Chilean wine links. I have visited numerous Chilean winery stands via trade shows while representing my blog (ProWein, London Wine Fair, European Wine Bloggers Conference). I can’t say that I am an expert, but learning about Chilean wine is a hobby of mine … and practice makes perfect doesn’t it?
And why should you pick me? Reason One – Nothing solidifies your understanding of a wine country better than physically being there. You would be helping me to really grind all that Chilean wine knowledge in my head. I would be able to put faces to wines, landscapes to valley names! Incredible no? Reason Two – You would be helping the budding wine career of a Masters in Wine Business student and aspiring world-famous wine blogger! You would have a life-long Chilean wine evangelist!! Reason Three – I am a millennial!! And they are the fastest growing wine drinking category out there! Who wouldn’t want a millennial to speak to other millennials about the amazing-ness that is Chilean wine!
Lastly, who would I take if I win… I would bring my mother (aka my partner in wine)! She is the reason I am here today pursuing my passion for this lifelong wine-career-journey-adventure! I had planned on law school, but my mom told me I would be lying to my passions to choose that route and that she was not going to let me pursue a career just because it seemed logical/safe to me… It was scary, but I jumped off the ‘proverbial-edge’ and into my passion for wine! Also, I do have a bit of a selfish reason for taking her – I have basic conversational skills in Spanish and my mom is fluent! It would be great to have her there to help me translate my tweets and posts into Spanish!! In addition, I know french, so I can translate the tweets and posts into French as well … so you really have yourself a deal here with a tri-lingual mother daughter team!
The last question is to (in 500 words or less) tell them a little about myself – my passions, interests, and background. What would I want them to know about me? Here is what I gave em’!
On my wine blog, Vinously Speaking you will find links to all the ways you can connect with me: Twitter, Facebook, Adegga, YouTube, and LinkedIn! You can check it out at this link: https://www.vinouslyspeaking.com ~ You can also read an interview I had with SacreBleu Wine about 5 months ago, they even caught on that I LOVE Chilean wine as that was one of my interview questions! Here is the link! http://bit.ly/sacrebleuinterview
With that I will introduce myself: My full name is Veronique Cecilia Barretto. I have gone by a shortened version of my middle name, “Ceci”, since I can remember, hence my wine blog name of ‘The Ceci Sipper’. I am Texan, born and raised. I hail from the lovely city of San Antonio, Texas! I am Mexican-American with deeper origins of Italian, French, and Native American. I graduated at the top of my class in high school and received a full academic scholarship and consequently received my undergraduate degree in Diplomacy & World Affairs from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. I planned on going to law school after taking a year break from the academic scene, but that obviously changed. In the summer of 2008, I packed up my bags, spent a year at the Alliance Francaise in Lyon , France to learn french and then started a Masters (MSc) in Wine Business at the Burgundy School of Business in Dijon, France in October of 2009. The academic portion of my masters ended on July 1, 2010 and now I have until December 17, 2010 to complete a masters thesis and an internship!After that I am headed back to San Antonio. Other random facts to get to know my better?
As you have probably caught on, I write the wine blog, Vinously Speaking – the down-to-earth, fun side of wine and wine-gulping! I write my wine blog with four aims in mind: to make its readers laugh/smile at least once with every post, to be quick and easy to read (cause no one has a lot of free time), to teach/show readers one thing about wine with each post (without being wine-snobby about it) and last but not least, to help the readers know me better…the crazy Texan gal, studying in France (until December) who is gulping all that wine and making a complete dork out of herself to bring the funny side of enjoying wine!
If you want a brief summary of my main adjectives, they are: funny, a bit nerdy, clever, goofy, witty, blunt, optimistic, efficient, confident, curious, loyal, LOVER OF LIFE and perhaps a bit ‘in-your-face’ – in a good way of course! I’m dork and I’m I proud of it. Spending time with me has been likened to the feeling one has on a roller-coaster; outrageously fun, unpredictable, very addicting and there’s always a long waiting line! =)
Thank you so much for your time and consideration of my application for this challenge! I look forward to hearing back from you!
I will know on October 21st if I am one of the 5 finalists! Wish me luck! I would so FLOVE to go on this trip and virtually take you along with me!!!!!