Magical realism and wine in Chile

chile-gillmore winery-church

danielia gillmoreDaniella Esturillo, the general manager of Gillmore and daughter of its founder Francisco Gillmore told us funny stories at dinner. She is one of those superenthusiastic people with a child-like bright smile and wide open eyes that find a silver lining in even the darkest of times.

When the earthquake hit destroying much of their winery and their home, her favorite part was not about how her family ended up huddling together in fear after she and her husband ran back inside a crumbling house to save their son, it was when she confessed how much she laughed at herself afterwards when she remembered that at first she picked up her television and held on to it for dear life.

When she talks about the vineyard it is always in the context of history and family. An author friend of mine and I were talking recently about how magical realism still lives in South America. You find that here in Gillmore… and a slight touch of Dr. Moreau.

Aside from producing what may have been the best wine I tried in Chile, they also have a private zoo with no fewer than two mountain lions, a few emus, llamas, horses and assorted endangered birds.The guest rooms are large comfortable with Whirlpool baths and decks overlooking a fish pond

On the magical side is a church on the property that, although damaged in the earthquake, still stands in memoriam to her father’s dog that has sat for a year at the altar stuffed and waiting for her master’s plans for eternity.

Daniella tells the story with a touch of amusement but neither she nor I find anything strange about her father’s wish to be buried along with his favorite dog, both sitting in the front seat of a green 1992 Mercedes.

It is the stuff of legends and children’s books, the kind of magic that still exists here in Chile

To read the rest of my story on my wine tour of Chile go to : Drink Up! A Tour of Chile’s Wineries and Vineyards