THE RESIDENT SHEEP AT FINCA PIEDRA
I wanted to make the most of our week in South America, so I booked a day-getaway to Uruguay (via an hour Buquebus ferry ride from Buenos Aires to Colonia) with The Wine Experience to a true estancia in the countryside of San Jose, called Finca Piedra. Dang, do I love my wine but in no way am I an aficionado in that realm, so knowing that Uruguay is busting through as the next big wine destination, I was stoked to find out (i.e. indulge in) what makes the wine here so special through a rad wine pro. Cue: Ryan Hamilton of The Wine Experience. This dude knows his vino and he’s been traveling in all parts of the world working the wine thing for years, so his stories are both crazy/hilarious and much more entertaining than some old stuck-up sommelier. BTW it's winter in South America (while it's a sticky sauna in Toronto) right now, hence my ensemble of two fall coats, a scarf, hat, and gloves. My allergic to the sun/heat vampire skin couldn't be happier.
Ryan picked us up at the port in Colonia and we began our Countryside Adventure to the incredible Finca Piedra. Driving to San Jose, you are hit with a calmness from the stunning nature (the palm trees are shorter and much fuller than the ones you see in California) to the expansive fields filled with more cows, sheep, and horses you could ever imagine. Coming from a buzzing, smoggy city, of course, I’m highly amused by this and think it’s the best thing ever.
As Ryan pulled into Finca Piedra, I was instantly taken aback by the stunning 1000 acres of vineyard and farm. Jason, who runs the estancia with his wife, welcomed us with big hugs and proudly showed us around the beautiful space.
INSIDE THE FINCA PIEDRA RESTAURANT...
INFINITY POOL (THERE'S ALSO TENNIS, VOLLEYBALL, FISHING, AND GOLF IF YOU CAN'T SWIM LIKE ME).
SUPER CUTE ANIMAL FARM...
WEEK OLD BABY RABBIT.
ENRICO, THE RESIDENT GAUCHO COOKING UP A URUGUAYAN BBQ (MORE MEAT!).
KEEP ON, KEEP ON EATING. SNACKS FOR THE WINE-TASTING.
JASON PRESENTS THE FIRST WINE...
A VIOGNIER... A FRESH PARTY WHITE.
RYAN AND JASON GIVE ME THE URUGUAYAN WINE 101.
THE LOCAL FAVE: TANNAT (A BOLD RED).
RYAN SCHOOLING ME ON WINE "LEGS" (I.E. ACIDITY). THE LONGER THE LEGS THE MORE ACIDITY. AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH.
BBQ OF SOUTH AFRICAN AND BLOOD SAUSAGES, CHICKEN, STEAK, AND RIBS WITH IN-HOUSE PRODUCED VEGGIES.
FLAN WITH MORE CREAMY, STICKY DULCE DE LECHE. HAVE YET TO HAVE A SINGLE MEAL WITHOUT IT.
HOW REGAL IS MY HORSE FOR THE NEXT HOUR?
SOMEONE LOVES MY LEATHER BOOTS.
SADDLING UP WITH THE HOT GAUCHO FROM LUNCH. IT'S A TOUGH JOB, FOLKS.
RIDING THROUGH 1000 ACRES OF GORGEOUS VINEYARD AND FARMLAND...
THE VINEYARDS ARE SLEEPING AROUND NOW, WITH A BIG GROWTH IN SEPT/OCT, HARVEST IN FEB/MAR.
My horseback riding session wrapped up at around 3pm and we made our heartfelt goodbyes to Finca Piedra (not before buying up some bottles of Tannat and olive oil). Ryan drove us back into Colonia del Sacramento where we could conquer the UNESCO quarter and watch the much talked about sunset over the Río de la Plata.
Thanks so much to The Wine Experience for arranging the perfect Uruguayan introduction at Finca Piedra xx
If you're lucky and have a few more days in Uruguay, you can actually stay in Finca Piedra and take in the full agri/ecoturismo experience. For more information: