Producing wine out of the central valleys (Casablanca, Colchagua, Maipo, etc.) was some years ago a risky business. And if now the Limari valley has acquired some kind of status, what Falernia Vineyard did, in its beginnings (1998), was an even more daring quest: to move the wine production limit in Chile to the Atacama desert border, towards the charming Elqui Valley, in order to take advantage of the micro-climates created by the influence of the sea and the cordillera. Today this move seems to have given results: in 2002 the vineyard received its first prize in the second Annual Tasting with its Syrah Alta Tierra 2002. Since then this vineyard of Italian immigrants, the most northern one in Chile, hasn´t stopped winning prizes.
During our journey we will learn the secrets that Falernia Vineyard keeps in its crops and wineries, we will taste its wine varieties and we will end up facing one of the biggest attractions of the valley: its dark skies, the clearest of the world.
At 15:00 we will be leaving La Serena being our first stop Titon farm. This farm is located 11 miles from the ocean at 350 meters above sea level. Due to the influence of the sea, the farm has moderate temperatures and mist (until noon most of the time), perfect conditions for the production of the Chardonay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Syrah and Pinot Noir varieties.
After this we will continue with our guide until we reach the wineries and stores of the vineyard, where we will meet, learn and taste the main wine varieties of Falernia Vineyard.
Then we will visit the second farm, a hill that will allow us to see the Puclaro Dam. With a capacity of 200.000.000 m3 this dam gives us a beautiful landscape of a lake among the mountains. This area is perfect for the production of Syrah and Pedro Jimenez wine varieties.
Later we will visit the farms that Falernia has in the surroundings of Vicuña, the biggest city of the Elqui valley. This crops lies on the old river-bed at 600 meters above sea level. Here we will learn about the history of the Elqui river just before we go to Vicuña. In Vicuña we will rest and wait for the stars.
The end of our trip comes with the arrival of the night, when we will be received in the tourist observatory with the best technical and human equipment of Chile: the Pangue observatory. It is located 10 miles to the south of Vicuña, in the middle of the mystic Elqui valley, at 1.500 mts (4.900 ft aprox.) elevation, just an hour and a half from La Serena. This is a unique place, the only human constructions visible from Pangue are the scientific observatories Cerro Tololo and Gemini. But the most outstanding thing is the quality of the sky, the result of the combination of light pollution absence and good weather.
The visit to this observatory begins with an introductory talk made by the observatory guides. One of the advantage of Pangue observatory in comparison with the rest of touristic observatories is the human team: the only tourist observatory directed by experts (astronomers, teachers and astrophotographers). The talks are very clear and instructive and they work with small groups in order to make everyone to understand and participate in a better way. No more than 12 people.
Now the technical equipment they have consist in one 12″ telescope, a 16″ telescope and a Dobsonian 25″ telescope, making the Pangue observatory, the one with the best telescopes in Chile.
- Wine tasting at Falernia Vineyard
- Dinner at Cocinas Solares restaurant
- Ticket Observatory
Note: Tour subject to weather conditions. Absence of full moon needed to make this tour.