Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Autumn Colours, Wine & Canyons of Rio Grande do Sul

Pizzato Wineries. Courtesy of Flavio Pizzato.

Autumn is the best season to visit the highlights of the Brazilian South,  one of the few regions to show its full seasonal colours.

Just a short drive from Porto Alegre, this itinerary combines gastronomy, enotourism, culture and beautiful scenery highlighted by the amazing Autumn light.

Day 1:  Arrival at Porto Alegre. You will be met by your guide and driven to Bento Gonçalves.

Porto Alegre- Vale dos Vinhedos (Vineyards Valley), Bento Gonçalves (120 km – approx 2 hours)

Bento Gonçalves is the main wine producing region in Brazil and an area strongly influenced by Italian immigration. An influence that can be seen on the local accents, food, architecture and the tradition of wine making. Although the quality of the wines in Brazil in general has not reached the level of Argentinean and Chilean wines, the region of Vale dos Vinhedos has a number of new small wineries that are changing this situation, especially in  the production of sparkling wines.

Wine tasting and visits to the vineyards are the highlights of the area.

Day 2: Full-day visit to the wineries on/off the Valley. The guide will select the wineries to visit depending on your tasting preference. They are all small, family-run business where we normally talk to passionate owners about what make their wine special. A very personalized tour a world away from the massified visitations of the large wineries.

Day 3: Vale dos Vinhedos (Vineyards Valley), Bento Gonçalves- Parque Nacional dos Aparados da Serra/Parque Nacional Serra Geral

A scenic drive through the highlands with a chance of seeing the“Grand Canyons” of Brazil. Instead of red dust, here you will find green, lush canyons, some up to 7km long and 800 m high. They have a unique biodiversity: Atlantic rainforest at the bottom, cloud forest in the steep escarpments and Araucaria Forest on the highlands known as Campos de Cima da Serra. The canyons are within the Aparados da Serra and the Serra Geral National Parks. En route you can visit one of these canyons- the choice will depend on the day of the week and weather conditions.

At the end of the day we will reach Refugio Pedra Afiada, on the Santa Catarina side of the border.

Day 4: free day to explore the region, the Refugio offers guided walks and other adventure activities that can be booked locally.

Day 5: Refúgio Pedra Afiada-Florianopolis airport (250 km- approx 3 1/2hours)

Hotels suggested:

Bento Gonçalves:

Hotel & Spa do Vinho, Bed and Breakfast basis

The most comfortable hotel in the Valley, it has good leisure facilities, a restaurant and its own cave with the largest number of wine labels in Brazil. The hotel is also home to the only Caudalie vinotherapie Spa in South America.

Aparados da Serra: Refúgio Pedra Afiada, half-board basis

REPA is an example in South Brazil of a sustainable tourism initiative. Located close to the entrance of Malacara Canyon the lushest of canyons in the Aparados da Serra National Park, it offers a great variety of active adventures in nature, besides a friendly service and beautiful grounds to relax in. This family-owned “green resort” is great for families and outdoor-lovers of all ages.

The rates are on half-board basis, including breakfast and dinner (which is a buffet-style of simple but tasty home-cooked food). Lunch can be ordered “a la Carte” (not included as most tours include a picnic lunch).

This itinerary can be done as a self-drive tour.

Please consult us for prices and availabilities.