Long Island's Chilean Wine Connection
If you visit Laurel Lake Vineyards in the postage stamp sized hamlet of Laurel, you will discover a very unique Long Island winery, Laurel Lake Vineyards. The folks are friendly and accommodating. Their winery is modern and has one of the best outdoor decks for entertaining on the Island. But most noticeably, is that the wines are made in a different style from most of their neighbors. The winery is owned by several Chilean investors with thick roots back in the Chile's wine country.
Several weeks ago Darcy and I had the pleasure of visiting Gillmore Estate in San Javier, Chile. Francisco Gillmore, a yeast manufacturer/vintner and his daughter Daniella are major shareholders of Laurel Lake Vineyards. Their Chilean wine estate is located 3.5 hours south of Santiago in the Maule Valley.
Gillmore Estate is well worth a visit as they have a beautiful 15 room. wine themed hotel with restaurant and nature preserve/mini zoo on 500 hectareas, which is approximately 1000 acres.
When you arrive in your hotel lobby you will discover a 15 foot cement wine bottle in the center of the lobby. Our room overlooked the pool and pond. There was a wood fired hot tub, in wine barrel and miniature golf course nearby.
The Gillmore's have dedicated a portion of their property to help preserve Chile's indigenous wildlife. You will find parrots, geese and mountain lions in cages on the property. Approximately 10% of the property is planted with grapevines.
You can stay in a double room with breakfast and guided tour for $200 per night, considering the exclusive location and privacy it is well worth the cost. They also offer a winemakers crash course program, one winemaking program which is 5 days learning how to make wine, for groups up from 6 people.
The food is delicious and compliments their delicious wines that consist primarily of reds, Rose, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc and Carmenere.
Spa treatments include a wine bath, skin bath, massages (drain, relax, exfoliating) priced from US$70 to US$100.
Gillmore Estate is open from August to April every year. Keep in mind that the seasons are the reverse of the US. For details visit their website: http://www.gillmore.cl/