This month, PLTFRM has been working on the second stage of 2017 Wines of Chile campaign, “Couple Trip to Chile”. If you missed our previous article, let us refresh your mind: the campaign started in September on Weibo and Miaopai, where couples posted “snapchat-like” videos on Wines of Chile account, to win a trip to the wonderful country. The second stage sees our creative team, together with PLTFRM partnering video production company, Arma Video, and the winning couple – Edward and Claire – leaving China at the end of October, heading to the enchanted Chile. Let’s give a look at the travel journal of their amazing trip!
Couple Trip to the Wine Paradise
Departure: Oct 31, Shanghai Pudong airport. The romantic trip has officially started.
To many, Chile is the ‘end of the world’. As soon as the plane lands, the view of that wonderful land strip along the Andes makes you easily forget about the long 30 hours flight, and won’t leave you disappointed. The connection with the locals and the enjoyable climate is immediate. Despite of the frequent earthquakes, Chileans still show their optimistic and imperturbable nature, while the solitary atmosphere nurtures their willingness of exploration.
First Destination: Valparaiso
Declared World Heritage Site in 2003, this part of the world cultural legacy is the first stop of our couple’s trip. Situated on “cerros” (trad. hills), Valparaiso has characteristic curved hill streets, colourful stairs, all sort of strange things and the scenery itself looks like a painting made out of all the graffiti on the walls.
As a matter of fact, this “Paradise Valley” is one of those places that change your life. Every day its hill streets and colourful stairs write a new piece of poetry. Tourists that come visit it, are easily tempted to extend the holidays, to fully enjoy the unique atmosphere.
It’s a dive into the distinctive taste of Chilean wines, the melodic sound of Spanish language, the unique flavour of traditional dishes, the harbour city scenery, as well as the warm and romantic atmosphere, typical of South American places.Very early, this “city of culture” attracted artists and writers, such as Pablo Neruda, noteworthy Chilean poet, and the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío. Here we had the honour to meet with the graffiti artists collective, founded 15 years ago. We also paid a visit to the famous Chilean painter Gonzalo Illabaca, in his unique and wonderful house. Bad news: to hear the stories of the three artists we met, you have to wait for our campaign video series to be released online!
Second Destination: Casablanca and Maipo Valley
During our trip, Claire has realised that Chile must be the bright and peaceful creation of God on the last day of the universe genesis: mountains, glaciers, deserts, lakes, rainforests and oceans must have been left falling by His hands in this beautiful corner of the world.
Chile is a narrow and long land strip, with 23 climatic zones and several areas with different soil composition, that represent a solid foundation for wine makers to brew the highest quality grapes. As one of the oldest wine producing countries in the new world, Chile has a rich history of wine making, which retains both traditional essence and constant innovation. Wineries in various regions have gradually become leaders in the wine market.
Moreover, we visited Maipo and Casablanca Valley, undoubtedly the most famous wine producing areas in Chile. These two regions present cool temperatures that allow grapes to have a longer ageing process and give birth to more structured wines. This uncommon experience in Casablanca and Maipo Valley was a surprise to our team and our lovely couple. Chardonnay from the cooler areas of Chile is pleasing to the taste, with a rich aftertaste, characterised by lemon and grass flavour notes. In the shining sun, we walked through the lush vineyard. When you walk down to the cellar, you don’t only smell the taste of the aged wine in oak barrels, yet you smell the whole history of Chilean wine culture.
Third destination: Atacama desert
Welcome to Mars! The driest place on Earth, Atacama desert is known for its ‘Mars-like’ landscapes, but it seems like an even more intriguing place. Atacama receives less than a millimetre of rainfall a year, but this year it suddenly experienced a riot of colour, as bloom of flowers covered every hill. Even though we didn’t see the miracle of ‘flowering desert’ ourselves, we want to share with you plenty of different surprises the desert brought us.
First, together with the couple, we went to the place, never visited by Chinese tourists — ALMA observatory. ALMA is the world’s largest telescope array, placed in Atacama because there are 300+ sunny days in the desert, and next to zero light pollution. The road up to 5000 meters altitude was picturesque, but not easy: at this hight, symptoms of altitude sickness may hit the travellers hard. The guide told us some of the engineers and technicians at ALMA have to go up and down every day, enduring hardships of the environment to make a contribution to ALMA’s search of our cosmic origins. On the way back from the observatory, we’ve come across cute vicuñas, a graceful relative of llamas and hundreds-year old cardon cactuses towering over the road. Atacama is full of landscapes, that you can’t bring yourself to call earthly: countless mountains in different shades of lilac and purple, volcanoes, salt flats, geysers, lakes—-all found in the middle of the desert. Just when you think you can’t be more surprised by this desert’s wonders, you get to know another astonishing fact—there’s wine production in this region. Extreme winemaking is a trend in Chile, where a few years ago winemakers embarked on a journey to bring the wine lovers bold wines with a distinct character.
We’ve got to do another extraordinary thing in the desert—a photoshoot with a local designer collective, who owns a store Vivaracha in San Pedro de Atacama. In Laguna Tebinquiche, in front of Spanish fashion photographer Manuel Higaldo’s camera, Claire indulged in modelling experience, trying on different stylish outfits.
Fourth destination: Chile’s magical forest
From the driest place on Earth, we’ve come to the other, fantastical world. Huilo-Huilo biological reserve is part of a unique ecosystem in the Patagonian Rainforest, protecting nature’s treasures and cultural heritage. In Mapudungun, the language of Mapuche people, ‘Huilo’ means bamboo-like plant ‘colihue’, so Huilo-Huilo name can be explained as ‘a land full of colihue’.
Huilo-Huilo gives travellers a rare chance to disconnect, enjoy the calm forest surroundings and pure air, get to know more about the local culture and soak in the atmosphere of a magical place. We’ve experienced the magic of this place to its fullest—everyone kept telling us how lucky we were to catch sunny days, a rare happening in spring. All the man-made structures in the reserve are also created with the environment in mind—both in style and materials used. Inside the fantastical buildings, made of wood and stone, you can see trees growing between the floors, ethnic style rags, and furniture— all create the feel that is even more atmospheric than the famous hygge. However, Huilo-Huilo is a paradise for outdoor adventurers: canopy, horse riding, rafting, hiking and other activities won’t let you stay indoors too much.
There’s another must-try experience for an ‘eco-getaway in Huilo-Huilo’—enjoying a taste of organic Chilean wine in the fairytale forest. Sustainability and environment are the very important aspects for Chilean winemakers, which is acknowledged globally with countless sustainability awards Chilean wines have won.
Fifth destination: Santiago
Chile’s capital city Santiago was the central travel point this time, also the place we returned to the most.
Of course, early on Claire and Edward had a chance to visit iconic sightseeing spots like Cerro San Cristóbal, Mercado Central, Costanera tower, and the wineries near Santiago, but only at the very last moment the couple and team could enjoy the unhurried exploration of Santiago. The whole day of uninterrupted roaming the streets of Santiago, soaking in the artistic atmosphere of the city, enjoying the 360-degree view from Cerro Santa Lucía and dining in the most exclusive places in the city—in broad strokes, that’s how the couple’s Chilean adventure ended.
You know, every end is a beginning—the video series will be online very soon, follow PLTFRM on Wechat and Weibo, and don’t miss out!