Back in the Inca era, an emperor named Pachacutec is said to have ordered the construction of a giant canal to channel water from the Andes to the barren deserts of Ica. Remarkably, an army of 40,000 men undertook the grueling task in just 10 days, permanently transforming the region into a lush and fertile oasis. Sometime later, the Spanish arrived and constructed numerous grand vineyards, many of which can still be visited today.
An elegant traditional vineyard, Tacama is one of the most popular bodegas in the region due to the quality of wine it produces and its attractive pink colonial-era hacienda (country house). A word of warning though, the Peruvians like their wine sickly sweet and the stuff produced in Tacama is certainly no exception.
Hacienda Bodega Tacama, Ica, Perú +51 56 581030
Tacama | © J Bradley Snyder/Flickr
Perhaps the best-known bodega in Peru, Vista Alegre centers around a charming old hacienda which has been used to produce pisco for centuries. Bilingual tour guides show travelers around for a small tip which ends in a pleasant tasting session.
Despite coming off as a little touristy at first glance, El Catador is worth the effort for its old-world charm as well as the excellent pisco and wine. Best of all, after the harvest in February and March, visitors are invited to help stomp the grapes the old-fashioned way – barefoot in a barrel. Visits and tastings are available year round and there is an excellent onsite restaurant that serves up tasty Peruvian fare.
Operating since 1684, the upmarket La Caravedo is one of the oldest distilleries on the continent and has taken over production of the internationally renowned Pisco Portón. An upmarket hotel takes reservations from well-heeled guests, while activities such as tapas tastings and horseback riding keep day-trippers entertained between drinks.
Bodega LA CARAVEDO, Salas Guadalupe, Panamericana Sur alt. km 241 Fundo La Caravedo, Perú +51 981 249 789
A post shared by Julio Olivo (@julyto) on Oct 15, 2017 at 5:59am PDT
Popular with large tour groups, Nietto has the facilities in place to welcome huge numbers of pisco enthusiasts on any given day. It may be more modern than other options on this list, but their production values and the quality of the end product make it a must for any serious connoisseur in the region.
A post shared by Pisco Nietto (@pisconietto) on Dec 3, 2017 at 9:32pm PST
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Another excellent local vineyard, Bodega Ocucaje makes plenty of pisco as well as some of the finest wines in Peru. Travelers are able to stay in their onsite hotel to explore some interesting nearby attractions such as the Cerro Blanco sand dune.
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