We took about a two hour bus ride north of Santiago to Vina San Esteban, a winery. We arrived and our guide spoke with us about the vineyard as we were standing next to the endless rows of grapes that ended at the foot of the white Andes mountains. We were first given a tour of the winery. She showed us how the grapes were sorted and selected, we went into the fermentation room where huge tin barrels full of premature wine filled the air with a bitter smell, and we saw a room with hundreds of wooden barrels full of aging wine.
After the tour we each got on a horse and headed through the vineyard up to where we would eat lunch. People who had ridden before got these big horses while I, easily the biggest person on the group got paired up with an animal slightly bigger than a donkey. If I stretched out my legs, my feet hung only a few feet from the ground. We rode up a hill and got off at the top to look around and enjoy the view. It was amazing. One side looked like a perfect ski vacation destination and the other looked like the desert, dry, rocky and full of cacti. Our guide showed us old rock carvings made by indigenous people. They were interesting, but nothing that fantastic. They were either just circles or stick figure people. After about an hour or so on the top of the hill we got back on our horses and headed halfway down the hill to lunch. They had set up a big white tent and table for us and were preparing a huge lunch. While the food was being prepared we had a wine tasting. We were offered two types of red and a white. I liked the white a lot better than either of the reds but I still preferred my cold water to any of the wines. We started with the bread and salsa of course and then had three different types of salad: One a cabbage and raisin salad which was unbelievable, another was tomatoes and onions and the third was lettuce and carrots. They were some of the best salads that I ate in Chile. The next course was a big empenada filled with beef, onions, a hard boiled egg, and and olive. It was delicious. The main course then arrived, beef that fell off the bone, chicken and sausage. Dessert was a milky pie that was delicious. It was one of the best meals we ate in Chile and we enjoyed it with a great view of the snow-covered Andes mountains in the background.