On the Road and In Your Backyard

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On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter StringOnAStick.

These photos are from a tour we took of a very old winery on the edge of Santiago, Chile. If I recall correctly, it has been in the same family for 11 generations and at one point this winery and her mine holdings made the daughter in charge in the 1880’s (no living male heirs then) one of the richest people in the world. The main vineyards are now well outside the city, and this old core area is now surrounded by the ever expanding city limits. The fermentation is still done at this location though, using modern stainless steel vats, but they’ve kept the historic buildings intact and they are still in use.

Taken on 2018-10-08 00:00:00

Cousino-Macul winery, Santiago, Chile

We took a bicycle ride around the vineyards, trying a bottle here and there that the guide brought along.

Taken on 2018-10-08 00:00:00

Winery, Santiago, Chile

Look at how thick those walls are! The guide told us there are no cracks anywhere in this building from the 1880’s, and the main binder in the mortar is egg whites. Even though this building is quite old and Chile is quite earthquake prone, there are no cracks thanks to thick walls and judicious use of arches.

Taken on 2018-10-08 00:00:00

Winery, Santiago, Chile

The winery had a basement portion that was nice and cool, plus very ancient in feel.

Taken on 2018-10-08 00:00:00

Winery, Santiago, Chile

Each of these barrels holds 30,000 liters of wine, and of these 12, each belonged to one of the old families that were investors in the winery when it was first created.

Taken on 2018-10-08 00:00:00

Winery, Santiago, Chile

The winery has plenty of historical exhibits and photos, and this was what necessity invented when filling one bottle at a time just became too inefficient. For the non-mechanical photo viewer, this is part of a 6 cylinder engine repurposed to be able to fill 6 wine bottles at a time.


Thank you so much StringOnAStick, do send us more when you can.


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16 replies
  1. 1
    eclare says:

    Great photos!

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    What an amazing experience you had! Great photos with so many details. I especially liked the egg whites in the mortar.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    @Mary G: The use of egg whites was definitely new to me.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Pretty cool.

  5. 5
    lahke says:

    I’ll be there! I’m going to Chile for the eclipse this July–thanks for the preview.

  6. 6
    debbie says:


  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Love these. Thanks, String. Egg whites in mortar. Ingenious.

  8. 8

    Great pics. Thanks for sharing. Of course the picture of the huge wine vats made me think of the many TV murder mysteries we has seen where a dead body is discovered in a similar vat of fermenting wine. One of the late Midsomer Murders comes to mind, but we have even seen it in French mysteries. It is become a pretty common plot element.

  9. 9
    arrieve says:

    I’ve heard of egg whites being used in the mortar in cathedrals in Europe as well. I do wonder what they did with all the yolks.

  10. 10
    HinTN says:

    part of a 6 cylinder engine repurposed to be able to fill 6 wine bottles at a time

    Mechanical engineering at its finest.

    I love the huge casks and the building. Thanks for the visit to a really neat place.

    Also too, I wish I was going to the eclipse. It’ll have to be 2024 for me.

  11. 11
    tobie says:

    Ooh…the pictures and story are making me want to travel. Thanks.
    @Elizabelle: Have I missed photos from your travel???

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    A feast of very very rich omelettes, that’s my guess.

  13. 13
    Paul in Saint Augustine says:

    Egg whites are also used in wine barrels as a fining agent. They will disperse over the top of the wine, and sink to the bottom. On the journey to the bottom of the barrel, , the whites filter out most of the impurities in the juice.

  14. 14
    stinger says:

    Great photos. I’ve wanted to visit Chile ever since it was featured in a PBS Victory Garden episode.

    Off to try sticking things together with egg white!

  15. 15
    Dan B says:

    A little (amateur) science here. Egg whites dont filter the wine. They attract the fine particles -fines- into clumps that are then large enough to sink to the bottom or be caught in a filter. Fines are so small that electrostatic forces that keep them suspended are stronger than gravitational forces. The surface area to volume ratio is the key.

    Egg whites act like a mild glue. Mortar is not very sticky when dry and is sorta brittle. Anything, like modern latex that adds stickiness will counteract the effects of sharp shockwaves in earthquakes. Rebar and fibers do the same. Concrete can be transformed into something flexible with additives. Concrete, and mortar, have great compressive strength but weak tensile strength.

    Now about the carbon footprint, le sigh…

  16. 16
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Dan B: Yes, concrete has an enormous carbon footprint, and most people have no idea about that.

    This winery tour was something we tacked on at the end of our Patagonia trip, and I will admit that originally I was only mildly interested in going but I’m so glad I did, the buildings and history were fabulous. The 25 year old who guided our tour was interesting, at first I couldn’t place his accent. His Spanish sounds native but his English did too but not as much. He was from Philly but had been in Chile 5years, long enough that he’s thinking and dreaming in Spanish and couldn’t remember the name for donuts.

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