Although the region of Ica is not known for it’s wines, one winery does stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Tacama Winery was founded in 1889 when it was bought by the Oleachea Family and sits on almost 500 acres of land in the fertile Ica Valley just under 200 miles south of the capital city of Lima. On the land grows at least 20 varieties of grapes in order to produce the large variety of spirits using French technology.
The grounds are open for touring most days and appear that it would be a beautiful area when all the grapes are ripening and the harvest is bustling. Due to the dry, hot climate in Ica, the growing period itself is quick and usually happens between January and March. Going during the winter months means seeing the grounds of the winery without much activity.
A tour at the Tacama Winery passes you by the “raiz” which is safely enclosed. Next, you pass by the nursery patio, which is used to multiply new varieties of grapes brought from France. Just beyond the nursery patio lies the old wooden press which weighs more than a ton, made from Huarango wood, a tree which no longer exists due to deforestation.
The Peruvian paso horse stables are also located just beyond the nursery. You then climb the stairs to the famous bell tower. The bell in the Tacama Winery bell tower is still used today, rung to indicate the start and stop of the workday. From the bell tower, you have an excellent view of the vineyards.
The wine cellar is where the grapes are made into wine. During the harvest, grapes for white wines are pressed in modern horizontal presses. The juice is clarified, then fermented. The grapes for red wines are stemmed and then macerate in special vats where the peel gives off the darker color and richer taste. The wine cellar has a capacity to hold almost 800,ooo gallons.
Following the tour, we were able to try a variety of wines, some of which (*) I liked, some of which were not so delicious. We got to taste:
- Tacama Blanco
- Amore de Ica*
- Albilla d’ Ica*
- Demonio de los Andes Pisco Acholado
- Terroix (Tannat/Malbec)
I would have liked to have seen more, learned more, tasted more, and experienced more during this tour and our visit to the Tacama Winery. I suppose that just means there is bound to be a “next time.”
Check out more information about the rest of our Weekend in Ica!