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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A #WorldWineTravel Preview: Known as País in Chile, Criolla in Argentina, & Mission in North America

Updated: May 25, 2023

This month I am hosting the #WorldWineTravel group as we explore the first Vitis vinifera grape variety to be exported from the Old World (Spain) to the New World (Mexico) in the 16th Century. Known as País in Chile, Criolla in Argentina, and Mission in North America.

What to Expect

The group will be posting between Friday, May 26th and Saturday, May 27th. We will also be gathering for a live Twitter chat on Saturday, May 27th. Follow the hashtag #WorldWineTravel and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the line-up of articles...

For this event, I am going to explore the grape as Chilean País, Argentinian Criolla, and Californian Mission wines. I am starting close to home!

California Missions

Mission San Miguel Arcángel, San Miguel, California

Being a Californian, California Missions are de rigueur for all fourth grade students. Well, I guess they were. Now that the missionaries have been vilified, missions are no longer studied. Yes, the missionaries were imposing their beliefs on a population that neither invited nor welcomed the intrusion. Yes, the missionaries did bad things to Native Americans. I agree on all counts. But, it did happen. And it is part of our state's history. I think we can teach it and put it into context.

Educators seem to disagree. Maybe I find the spread of Catholicism historically fascinating because my parents are Catholic. Who knows. I am grateful that we, as a family, got to learn about the missions when our older son did a mission project. Two years later, our younger son was not afforded the same opportunity as California missions were removed from the school's curriculum.

As we always did, when the kids were younger, we planned day trips to augment whatever they were learning in school. So that 4th grade year, we traveled all over California, visiting missions from Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma (the last and most northern mission) all the way to Mission La Purísima Concepción in Lompoc which was his chosen mission. We explored the rose gardens of Mission Santa Bárbara; Mission Basilica San Buenaventura was a surprise when we swung into Ventura to find a bathroom during our roadtrip. We incorporated Mission Santa Cruz into R's birthday camping trip with with friends; and Mission San Juan Bautista and Carmel Mission Basilica are frequent destinations as they fall within thirty minutes of our home.

L to R: Mission La Purísima Concepción in Lompoc, Mission Basilica San Buenaventura in Ventura, and Mission Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz

Just last month Jake and I went back to Mission San Antonio de Padua in Jolon while we were hunting for a wildflower superbloom. There they had the original olive tree and remnants of the olive mill that the missionaries used.

The Mission Grape

Mission is so called because it was the grape that accompanied the Spanish missionaries who worked to spread Spain’s empire in the New World during the 16th and 17th centuries. After being introduced to Mexico and Chile in the mid-1500s, Mission grapes were established along the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico, becoming the first vinifera variety planted in what is now the United States. In 1769 the Mission grape reached California with the founding of the first mission in San Diego, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá.

A Disappointing Pour

I had high hopes for the Mission wine I found and poured. Honestly, it reminded me of communion wine. And that is not compliment: flat and lacking character and depth. I hope that the Argentinian Criolla and Chilean País are more complex and enjoyable. We shall see. Stay tuned!

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Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
May 23, 2023

I also do not agree with erasing history. How else are we to learn from other's mistakes. I'm sorry the wine was disappointing.

Camilla M. Mann
Camilla M. Mann
May 24, 2023
Replying to

I was disappointed!

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