With its neighbors Argentina and Chile taking all the wine related head lines the Bolivia Wine industry has always been left in the shadows and is little know throughout the world but those visiting Bolivia that sample its high altitude wines are pleasantly surprised by the options of offer.
Bolivian wines are mostly produced in the Southern part of the country in Tarja region and surrounding areas, most famously in the Valley of Concepcion located about 1 hours drive from the city. This means the vineyards that grow the grapes for production are amongst the highest in the world at an altitude of around 2000 meters.
Tourists that visit Tarija will often do a day trip out to visit the wineries. These tours can be arranged via agencies or hotels in Tarija or you can simply go out by yourself and the wineries offer tours themselves. There are lots of free samples and you will be expected to purchase some wine from the on site shop which most people do so without hesitation. A popular option is Casa Vieja (Old House) which still produces some wines using the traditional method of stamping on the grapes by foot.
Even if you don’t get a chance to visit Tarija if it still easy to sample a variety of Bolivian wines as they are available in all large cities. Supermarkets usually stock a good range and the higher quality restaurants will also be able to offer you a good selection.
A couple good options we can recommend are :
TRIVARIETAL from Campos de Solana “Assemblage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Tannat,
which have rested in the best French and American barrels” – this wine won International Wine of the Year awarded by the Association of Journalists and Writers of Wines and Spirits in 2015. This was from amongst 650,000 wines. It is considered amongst the top 200 best wines in the world. This should cost around 95 to 115 Bolivianos (double or more in a restaurant)
For those on more of a budget the best (and the favorite of many an expat in Bolivia) is
DUO from ARANJUEZ – a blend of Tannat & Merlot. At around 35 -40 bolivanos a bottle this is a very good budget red wine.
A good selection of wines (and all other alcohol) can be found in the “Super Mercado de Licor” with branches in La Paz and Santa Cruz
La Paz – Main Branch at Av. Ballivian #302 esq. Calle 9 Calacoto & a smaller, more central, branch now on the corner of Plaza Avaroa at Sanchez Lima esq Belisario Salinas
Santa Cruz – Av.Cristobal de Mendoza esq. Canada s/n
Web site – http://www.delicor.com.bo/
Ketal supermarkets also have a good selection with the best being in the branch in the Megacenter in La Paz although the best selection we have found is in the Hipermaxi supermarket in Obrajes where there is a special dedicate wine room offering lots of fine (some very expensive fall over South America.
If you wanted to get some advice and try a few different options in an evening you might want to pay a visit to Hallwrights Wine Bar located on Sanchez Lima 2235 and owned bar an Australian couple this wine bar is a relaxing low key place.
Let us know what your favorites are and recommendations (especially for white wines as not being white wine drinkers we cant recommend)