March 04, 2021 #ChileDiverse

Travel the world with wine, you don't need a passport

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The opening scene of my next travel book refers to one of the first trips I took as an adult: Chile. My sister had taken a year off from classes in Wisconsin to go teach English in Santiago. Seizing the opportunity, I convinced my dad and younger sister to meet me there. Sitting around a table, drinking local beer, we plotted a route on a paper map. We would travel to San Pedro de Atacama in the north, cross the desert that inspired Dali in a jeep, go to Bolivia to photograph the salt flats and then cross Lake Titicaca into Peru. We would hike up the Inca Trail to the Gate of Heaven outside Machu Picchu to see the sunrise on my father's 60th birthday. But first we needed to drink some Chilean wine.

We spent an afternoon on a local bus visiting vineyards outside the city. Our last stop was Casillero del Diablo, where we all drank Cabernet Sauvignon in a lighted courtyard. With our teeth stained red and a few stains on our shirts, we headed back to town for dinner. That evening stands out among my many memories of tasting wine abroad. At the time, I was a law student and didn't yet know what my future life would hold, but that day began my fascination with travel and wine.

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