Tag: destinations

Beautiful new winery

Guest post by Syd Blackwell

map, Punta to El Edén

Ruta 12 carves an up-and-down path through the hills of Maldonado, northwest of the resort area of Punta del Este. It is a most beautiful road for a scenic drive. Just four kilometers south of the tiny village of Pueblo Edén, high on one of those hills, is Viña Edén, a winery. The owner is Brazilian, and a passionate oenophile.

The property is huge, but a mere seven hectares are devoted to grapes. The rest has been, and will continue to be, displayed in the natural beauty of this greenest of Uruguayan areas. The views are magnificent. The emphasis here is on quality, not quantity.

We had not pre-booked a visit. We only learned of the winery during a visit to Lote 8, an olive oil farm, located just north of Pueblo Edén. Naturally, we seized the opportunity to see the winery. They are open from 11:00 to 20:30 daily and can easily accommodate unannounced arrivals.

Viña Edén, Maldonado, Uruguay

The road that has been created to reach the operations, is already quite a marvel, as it steeply climbs the rocky hillside. The stunning building at the top is sheathed in a deliberately rusting metal, a very natural-looking colour. The windows are immense, maximizing the views. We were immediately greeted by an employee, on the wide terrace in front of the building that looks across the beautiful landscape.

Viña Edén, Depto Maldonado, Uruguay

We were offered a tasting tour, a tasting tour with a meal, or, a simple tour without tastings or meal. We chose the last. The tours with tastings or meal are, we think, quite expensive. We are used to free tastings at wineries. Our tour cost US$45 for a party of four, with nothing offered but words. At the end of our tour, we received an IVA discount, that reduced the price down to approximately $8 per person. The tasting tour, with snacks, costs $45 per person and the tasting + meal tour is priced at $65 per person. If one were attracted to the menu, and the idea of a chef-prepared mid-day meal, I suppose the last choice is a better value than the tasting tour, where the snacks did not look impressive or plentiful. However, when we had a chance to peruse the menu at the end of our tour, we did not think it remarkable enough to fit the asking price. Of course, we had not tasted the wines that would be offered with the meal.

Viña Edén, Depto Maldonado, Uruguay

The wines they produce are, as is the operation, of unique and excellent quality. As listed on their website, they are: Tannat Reserva 2015 for $1080 pesos (USD 38), Chardonnay 2015 for $810 (USD29), Cerro Negro Gran Reserva 2013, and Methode Champenoise, both priced at $1350 (USD48). Without a tasting, we were unwilling to buy any of these expensive products. However, other visitors at the winery clearly were partaking of both the tasting tour or the dining tour, and were purchasing bottles of wine following their tours.

Viña Edén, Depto Maldonado, Uruguay

The workings of the winery are all sparkling and new. It only opened for the public in this format in December 2016. On the night before our visit, they had a social event with live music at the winery. They are planning on more events in the future.

Viña Edén, Depto Maldonado, Uruguay

We were impressed with the incredible cleanliness and on the emphasis to deliver a pure product with the minimum of evasive processes or ingredients. For example, the flow through the system fully utilizes gravity and not pumps, which they told us, traumatize the wine. They are also completely aware of the soils and climate that contribute to their wines.

While we were not purchasers, the visit was well worth our time. We think this valley and this winery are beautiful. We will bring other visitors.

Further information can be found at the website: http://www.vinaeden.com/

Photos by Syd Blackwell

Boutique olive oil producer worth a visit

Guest post by Syd Blackwell

LOTE 8 – Viví Una Expeeriencia Única

View on Ruta 12, Dep. Maldonado, Uruguay
© Google

If you drive east on the interbalnearia (coastal highway) from Montevideo, then switch to Ruta 9 at Pan de Azucar, you will reach the start of Ruta 12, that runs north towards the tiny village (less than 100 persons) of Pueblo Edén, Uruguay. The vibrantly green hills and valleys along this route are, in my opinion, the most scenic of Uruguay. On one of these hills, just north of the village, you will find Lote 8, a unique experience in olive oil production.

Lote 8, olive oil producer, Uruguay

The operation, owned by an Argentinian family, offers tours, tastings, and, of course, the opportunity to purchase products. As recommended, we pre-booked a tour for our group of four, to ensure we would have the services of Martin, an English-speaking guide. We wished, as their brochure offers, “to enjoy a unique place where nature and passion transform its fruit into true art.” We were not disappointed.

Olive trees, Lote 8, Uruguay

The property is lovely; the vistas superb. Martin began his tour among the olive trees, where the fruit was still green and not yet ready to harvest. He explained two different methods of harvest, one with a finger-like device to strip olives from the branches, and one a shaking device to shake down olives. Matting below the trees catches the harvest.

Olive oil processing plant, Lote 8, Uruguay

Next, we followed the route of the fruit. First to a large grilled square in the floor where the harvest is dumped, and the conveyor that lifts it up to where the leaves and twigs are separated. Then the product moves through other machines that mix it with water, pulverize it into a slurry, and eventually separate out the valued oil. Finally, it is packaged, most in utilitarian bottles for Uruguayan supermarkets and such, and some in specially designed Mexican hand-blown glass bottles, suitable for gift purchases. Other products, such as soaps, candles, and chocolates, made with olive oil, are also available in the gift shop.

Lote 8 olive oil production plant, Uruguay

The buildings, the machinery, the layout, the total operation is just first-class. Great care is taken to produce this oil. Work also continues to add more features, more site beauty, to what is already remarkable. Step out of the processing room door and you look across a lily-pad covered pond, flanked by a bed of lavender, down and cross the grand greenness all around. This is a delight for visitors and workers alike.

Lote 8 olive oil, Uruguay

The main product, La Repisada extra virgin olive oil, has already won numerous international awards, some of which are on display in the gift shop. Each of us purchased items for personal use and future gifts.

We were totally delighted with our experience and would definitely recommend a visit. More information and contact email can be found on their website.

A special thank you to Karen Higgs, who suggested such a visit in her blog, Guru’guay. Also, if you tell them you read Karen’s article, you are given a discount on your purchases!

All photos except the first by Syd Blackwell.