Viña is for Vineyard

Santiago is a great city. It’s a modern, working city, and it’s its own region in Chile. Before going to Viña del Mar, my program put us through a short, crash-course in Chilean orientation, tours and history.


Panorama of Viña Cousiño Macul, one of the oldest in Chile. The vineyard is in the ownership of the same founding Cousiño family today.

The day we arrived it was nothing short of a gorgeous day outside. In a sort of nod to a higher power, or God we all went to visit Cerro San Cristobal. The Saint of travelers. We took a funicular down.

Viña means Vineyard in Spanish. Something I put together on the bus ride over to one of Santiago’s amazing vineyards the second day in Chile. We took a wine tour and tasting of Viña Cousiño Macul. It was in Spanish. It is a vineyard that currently makes most of it’s wine in an alternate facility elsewhere. The vineyard that we toured is mostly for show and growing grapes, etc. Our guide talked extensively about the different fermentation processes that grapes go through to create the red wine that makes Chilean wine famous.

We tried a vino gris. It was tinted rose and tasted like peaches and summer salad. According to the guide, it is one of their specialities and is created by making a white wine with the piel of red grapes.


Rows and rows of grapes welcome you to the vineyard. The grapes here are used to make red, white and gris wine, all of which can be bought on vineyard. From February until May is usually the busiest time of the year for vineyards here as it’s the “harvest season.”

During our Santiago travels, we also had daily drones of orientation. Drones being the key word solely because all we wanted to do was get out, explore a new country and test our language skills.

But during the orientation, we learned a lot. I learned about the tendencies of host mothers to clean your room daily and try to feed you more. Estoy satesfacho would soon become my best friend (along with a laugh, smile and struggle to explain that I would finish luego). 

We also learned about cultural differences in schooling: for me it would be between UAI and UNH.

But after orientation each day, we’d board a bus and continue to broad our minds and learn. Once, I learned extremely rapidly about a tricky #chileanslang: hueon by calling the bus driver a hueon, and, by translation, an asshole. Bienvenidos, gringa.


Our final day, we went to Cerro Santa Lucía. Por la manera, cerro means hill, and the this gorgeous property sits upon, is the supposed foundation of Santiago by Pedro de Valdivia. The architecture of Cerro Santa Lucía borrows influences from Europe: present are various small plazas, gardens and a hermosa façade (above).

Our group also visited the presidential palace: Palacio de Moneda, Plaza de Armas, Iglesia Cathedral at the Plaza de Armas and Pueblo de los Domínicos.


vino gris – grey wine.

piel – skin

estoy satesfacho – I’m full, I’ve had enough

luego – later

hermosa – beautiful


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