Wine grapes are one of Chile’s most important crops, and the February-to-May harvest season is cause for much excitement. It is the busiest time of the year for the growers, pickers, winemakers, and everyone else involved in the glorious process of turning grapes into wine. It is a time of joy and celebration, and each wine region and winery has a special way of celebrating the season.
Many towns and wine valleys have large public harvest fests filled with traditions, such as choosing the harvest queen, grape stomping competitions, rodeos, cueca competitions (the national dance), games, and plenty of traditional foods, such as empanadas and anticuchos (skewered meats). But everyone’s favorite, of course, are the wine tastings. The local wineries set up stands in the central plaza and the guests stroll from one to the next, glass in hand, sampling the reds, whites, and rosés, from the different producers. This is a wonderful way to taste a wide range of wines and chat with people from the wineries at the same time.
A number of other public tasting events are held throughout the year as well, so be sure to ask if one will take place during your visit!