Brazil is a fascinatingly huge place and its so much more than carnival, beach bodies and endless wild landscapes. For wine lovers like us who travel to see and taste wines in their native habitats, this was one of the most authentic and eye opening wine trips we have had to date.
The Brazilian wine market is really just now turning the heads of some worldwide industry insiders with a handful of visionary producers leading the way with a world class product. The reality is the lands of Brazil’s Southernmost state Rio Grande do Sul have been under vine for centuries due to the waves of Italian and German immigrants who sought refuge here in the 18th and 19th centuries. However it is only now that production is moving from a national to an international phenomenon.
We arrived in the capital city of the district Porto Alegre. It is well connected to the Americas and beyond via its easy to use airport. From there renting a car was straightforward and we undertook a two hour drive to wine country. The highways are easy and excellent. Its fascinating to see all of the German and Italian heritage shops, farms and businesses along the way.
The start of wine country comes at the gateway city of Bento Goncalves. All around its outskirts for kilometers are small country roads and towns that dot the surrounding hills. A rich lava flow many ages ago brought richness to the soil and the not too distant sea impacts the weather that makes grape growing ideal even with some resident humidity.
We found the best way to live the experience of the historic and hardworking area was to rent an Airbnb. It is a very quality experience which we highly suggest. Our host refurbished an original settlers home (that of her ancestors) and we had the full immersion. Keeping the winter cool at bay with a roaring fire and sleeping in the same wooden and stone structure that has provided shelter to generations of dreamers.
Hospitality is fantastic, from our host’s generous morning breakfast spread (man do they love bread!) to the locals we encountered working the vineyards on our walks and in the small towns. Places like Monte Belo do Sul are scenic hilltop villages that make you think you’ve been dropped right in the heart of Europe. In general if one is looking to start wine tasting, visiting vineyards and restaurants or where to book a place, we recommend the heart of the wine production Vale do Vinhedos.
There are some really fantastic vineyards that are focusing on grand scale and high quality production. Casa Valduga, Miolo Winery and our personal favorite Vinicola Salton. This picturesque vineyard, winery and shop make for one of the best day trips and samplings in the whole region. It is arguably the best known name in the area to outsiders and their winery is immaculate. No wine seems out of place and when we browsed the shop to make some purchases we were offered samples of everything by well informed staff who took the time to make us feel like guests.
In short, Brazil is a wine destination on the rise and it won’t be long before wine lovers around the world start buying and flying there to see the beauty of this well preserved place. We recommend you go while its still authentic and as always we can help you plan the perfect trip with our personal travel advising, built off our first hand experiences.