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Wine tasting: learn, try and visit the Winery Araucaria

I must confess that good wines were not my specialty, but I knew that it was a matter of time to improve my taste. It would follow the same logic: as times goes by, we try different foods and are open for new things, don´t we? During a trip to Chile in 2014 I discovered myself as a wine lover!

Until then, wines were simply too dry for me! But after almost 20 days of vacation with Chilenean wines almost every day, I realized how savy and delicious they were. Back in Curitiba, I tried new wines and looked for information regarding wine production, types of grapes, differences, suggestions for harmonizations and so on. But some questions were still there: “do I really need to balance the glass before drinking?”, “how can I know more about a wine with only a sip?”, “what is the difference between grapes?” among other questions.

Wine Song, at Pablo Neruda´s house in Isla Negra, Chile. Photo: Caroline Kwasnicki

I looked for some courses, but I did not want to become a sommelier and the options were over my budget. So, in May 2015 Bibiana, director at Special Paraná, asked me to visit Vinícola Araucária, as it was our purpose to offer this tour option for tourists and locals and we test everything before! What an excellent experience it was! That day I took part at a Wine Day, offered by the winery with the sommelier Wagner Gabardo what was with the group from beginning to the end of the tour. And it was not a simple wine tasting – it was much more!

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At Wine Day, you will have an experience much more complete than a simple wine tasting! Photo: Caroline Kwasnicki

The road until we reached the winery was very beautiful, in the mountain region called Serra do Mar. The place has easy access, about one hour from Curitiba downtown. It is possible to see many Araucarias – our typical tree that also named the winery! The day was cold, very appropriate for a good wine but I do not doubt the visit is worth does not matter the weather!

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The beautiful Winery Araucaria! Photo: Bibiana Antoniacomi

To start, the sommelier Wagner told us more about the winery, how the production works, information about the climate, height and the soil, among other curiosities and challenges of raising grapes in this area and the production of good wine. The vineyard began 2007 with the French grapes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Viognier and aso the Italian grapes Nebbiolo and Teroldego.

The building of the winery began to be built 2008 with the clear goal to show that the region has conditions to produce quality wines – and you will be sure about it after tasting them! Many questions were answered, such as harvest, maturation and how many kilos of grapes are necessary for a bottle of wine. But I will not tell more, but you can be sure to ask many things during the Wine Day!!

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The sommelier Wagner Gabardo tells about the production at Vinícola Araucaria

In the winery, Wagner explained more about the production and the technolgy used. In one of the rooms, we saw the huge steel equipments where the fermentation takes place – it is very important to keep the temperatures controlled. In other moment, we understood more about the oak barrels used to age the wine and which conditons are necessary for the wine to age “well”. It is quite interesting to know more about it before the wine tasting. These information in advance help to understand and value better what you drink. After all the information, we were eager to taste everything!

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One of the rooms of the winery where the wine is produced. You can see a beautiful pannel by Poty Lazzarotto. Photo: Caroline Kwasnicki

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Room with the oak barrels. Photo: Caroline Kwasnicki

And finally, the moment of the wine tasting has come! Wagner kept explaining and we received some handouts about how to analyse the wine completely: visual, smell and taste. We could take notes – I do reccommend to take notes or to use your cell phone for everything you find interesting to remember afterwards. During the lecture we learned a lot! We tested our taste, understood why I had the questions I mentioned in the begining of the text, what the “tears in the glass” mean, why should we smell the wine, what the salivation means and much more. And what about the taste memory? It will be completely different from person to person, depending on previous experiences the person had. What is quite interesting! During the wine tasting, there was a selection of delicious bread types on the table.

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During the lecture we learned some techniques about wine tasting, very well harmonized with handmade bread. Photo: Caroline Kwasnicki

And the experience only gets better!! To end it, a delicious lunch harmonized with the local produced wines. The day I was there, the restaurant was not ready yet and e had a phantastic lunch at the main house. More recently the Restaurant Gralha Azul was opened: a rustic and cozy space. Bibiana went there to see how it is and was pleasantly surprised with the food and wines served. During Wine Day the lunch includes starter, main dish, dessert, water and 3 glasses of wine. Take a look at the options – they are delicious!

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Gralha Azul Restaurant is a cozy and pleasant place with beautiful view to the lake. Photo: Vinícola Araucária

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Bife Ancho – grilled and served with rice with mushrooms, potatoes and green pepper sauce – and galinha à Moda Araucária – chicken with white wine sauce, cooked cassava, chicken risotto and parmesan cheese – are some of the options found on the menu. Photo: Vinícola Araucária. 

Before leaving, a short stop at the winery shop! We received a participation certificate and had time to take a look at the wines and choose the ones we wanted to take home. As we had already tasted all them, it was easy to find the ones we preferred. At the store you will find the sparkling wine Poty Brut, Poty Demi Sec, Angustifolia Cabernet Sauvignon, Angustifolia Merlot, Angustifolia Chardonnay and Gralha Azul Merlot. The bottles and labels are very elegant and remind of our region, as the artist Poty Lazzarotto, the gralha azul (bird) and araucária tree (angustifólia). It does not matter if you are from Curitiba or from anywhere else, it is a surely a good souvenir. The store also sells some gifts and accessories.

Take part at a Wine Day with winetasting

Yes, you can take part at a Wine Day at Vinícola Araucária. We tested and approved the program before and now it is your turn! You can schedule a tour very easily by e-mail info@specialparana.com or by phone +55 41 3232 1314. You can also make a booking request at our website: Wine Day Vinícola Araucária. The sommelier speaks Portuguese, Spanish and English. The complete tour will be in the language you choose.

Wine Day is available for groups between 6 and 20 persons from Tuesday to Sunday and you must schedule it in advance. Share this experience with your friends and put together a small group! I am sure that you will learn a lot. To know a bit more about wines will make you life easier when visiting a restaurant, choose a wine for dinner with friends or family or even to prepare a romantic evening.

Após a visitação, a aula com degustação e o almoço harmonizado, você terá um tempinho para olhar a loja da Vinícola Araucária e levar alguns vinhos para casa! Foto: Caroline Kwasnicki

After lunch you will have time to take a look at the store and take some wine bottles home! Photo: Caroline Kwasnicki

Only a visit to Vinícola Araucária? It is also possible!  

Private tour – An option for smaller parties, for couples or just for you is a guided visit at Vinícola Araucária, without the lecture and lunch. It is necessary to book in advance and it is available daily in different departure times: 8:30, 10:30, 12:00 and 13:00. In this tour you will have a guided visit (about 1h30) and time to enjoy the beautiful location of the property or to have lunch if the restaurant is open (lunch is optional and not included in the tour price). Book your tour to visit Vinícola Araucária here.

Enjoy the view! Photo: Bibiana Antoniacomi

Enjoy the view! Photo: Bibiana Antoniacomi

Visit to Vinícola Araucária and then head to the airport

An option for those who have a short stay in Curitiba or have a free morning before leaving to the airport is to book the tour that includes the transfer to the airport after the visit! The winery is located about 30 minutes away from the airport. For more details and booking, see our Visit to Vinícola Araucária with transfer to the Airport.

Plan your trip ahead and book now!

Contact:

  • info@specialparana.com
  • +55 (41) 3232-1314
  • skype: specialparanacwb
Ver formação do Wagner.

Wagner Gabardo is a professional sommerlier graduated at Centro Argentino de Vinos y Espirituosas (CAVE), in Buenos Aires. Sommelier at Vinícola Araucária, teacher at Centro Europeu in Curitiba and at WineSenses. Responsible for the organization of wine tasting at Paladar Cozinha do Brasil in 2012 and 2013, of the nationwide newspaper O Estado de São Paulo.

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Photos and text: Caroline Kwasnicki, Marketing assistent at Special Paraná since 2012. Graduated in Institutional Communication at UTFPR and post-graduated in Marketing at Universidade Positivo in Curitiba. Photographer in her spare time, believes that traveling and visiting new places is the best way to grow and understand the world – but always comes back to Curitiba!