English: Photo from the modern Santiago de Chi...

Santiago de Chile – Andes Mountains  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jan and Karen – friends of ours, lovely people – are incredibly adventurous. Like us, they’re Boomers, happily retired from the frantic world of government and big business.

Besides touring the world whenever they can, they’ve decided to buy a vineyard and some property near Mendoza, Argentina and live there for part of the year (Latin America’s spring is our autumn, their summer is our winter). They’re constructing a house, with room for guests (hooray). They also have a blog – Thirty Three Degrees South – which Karen writes. Check out the photo galleries!

In August, when they visited us for a lunch on the deck during that blistering heat wave, they brought us a bottle from their first pressing. Chateau Denard 2010 – a Cabernet Sauvingnon, from their vines at Santa Maria de los Andes in Lujan de Cuyo,Mendoza. They dedicated their production to their step-dad and friend, Telf Denard.

All I can say is, we took one taste and conversation stopped. All we could do was stare at each other with the sheer joy of how wonderful that wine was. We’re off to visit with them next week, after touring Santiago, Chile for a few days. Jan and Karen promise us lots of fine wine and grass-fed beef free of e-coli. Add the spectacular Andes mountains, and it will be an amazing trip.

I’m hoping we can do a side trip to the Atacama dessert, because that’s where one of the characters in my first novel, The Fifth Man, becomes marooned when the aircraft he was taking to a mining site, crashes on the way to Peru. But if not this time, perhaps the next? We’ve also got an appointment at the Swedish consulate in Santiago, which also plays a part on the plot.

Seeing/smelling/tasting/hearing the environment in which my characters walk will help me make the scenes more vivid. It’s great to be a writer and to be able to research first-hand, rather than relying on Google street view.

Enhanced by Zemanta