In tune with our current Pasajero issue highlighting Columbia, we decided to explore what wines Columbians like to drink. In order to do that, we invited Dario Parra, owner of the well-known establishment in Bogota, La Casa del Vino, to be our guest for this column.

Is Colombia a strong wine market?

Columbia has been a rapidly growing wine market during the past five years.

Why is that?

I believe it has to do with a growing consciousness in Columbia that wine, especially red wine, is good for your health. And also because wine has its own mystique.

What do you mean by mystique?

When a gentleman in Columbia orders a bottle of whiskey, however expensive it may be, his wife often becomes annoyed and thinks he’s going to get drunk. However, when he orders a bottle of wine, she typically requests a second glass of wine so that they can share. This makes wine excellent for social occasions … as well as for sharing with your wife or significant other.

Can you tell us what wines are popular in Columbia right now?

Argentinean wines are the most popular and offer the best values, too. Australians are entering the market now and are being well received, too. Italians have no main importer in Columbia so are not too popular. I wish they were because I like Italian wines. Spanish wines being imported are the traditional Riojas like Marques de Caceres and Marques de Riscal. From California, a few wines trickle into Columbia, but not many – mostly economical brands like Gallo. Chilean wines are also popular, although the best wines usually go to more established markets like the United States and Europe.

If you were a client, what wine would you buy?

If I wanted red, I’d go with an Argentinean wine. If I wanted white, I’d select a Chilean wine, like the TamayaLimari Valley, Viognier-Chardonnay.

Any wine in particular that you would care to recommend to our readers?
The Catena Zapata Carnet Sauvignon or the Catena Zapata Malbec from Argentina. They are a little on the expensive side but well worth it.


David Pereda