Carmenere on 21,000 mile road trip

  • Tuesday 7 June 2005

A Chilean wine connoisseur is about to leave on a four-month, 21,000-mile motorcycle journey to promote Chile’s Carmenère grape across the American continents.

On a journey dubbed Carmenère Adventure 2005, Cristian Muñoz is taking a wine-laden motorcycle from Santiago de Chile to Anchorage, Alaska, and finally, New York.

His itinerary lists 25 Latin and North American cities including Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington DC and Chicago.

Muñoz aims to finish his trip by arriving in New York by 18 September, Chile’s Independence Day.

‘The objective is to celebrate Independence Day in both the US and Chile with special focus on the excellent business relations between the two countries,’ said Maximiliano Morales, head of Andes wines.

Carmenere is a Bordeaux varietal that was used extensively in red wine until phylloxera destroyed European vineyards in the 19th century. All Carmenere vines in Bordeaux were pulled up and it was thought the variety was heading for extinction.

But in the early 1990s the Chileans discovered that what they thought were Merlot vines were in fact Carmenere. Now the grape is set for a major renaissance.

On his trip Muñoz - and Morales, his sponsor - will hope to increase awareness of Carmenère among the local and international press and wine specialists at every stop.

A cameraman with bike-mounted cameras will film the entire route. Another objective of the trip is to show the similarities of the seemingly distinct wine valleys along the way.

As part of the stunt, Muñoz will carry a 3-litre bottle of Carmenère in one of the saddle panniers of his 1150cc BMW. He aims to have the bottle signed at each stop.

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