The first time I remember seeing these lands, I was just a child and the dry, stony lands with low and scattered bushes seemed to me the most extensive desert I could imagine. The yellow of the sand and the gray of the stones contrasted with the clear blue of the sky, which varied from the lightest blue in the afternoon, passing through the fuchsias and oranges of dawn and dusk, to the almost black blue of the night.
The colors remain, but today the Uco Valley, and especially the Agua Amarga area, as we know it here, has changed its landscape drastically.
Where once there were furrows and pools full of water trying to appease the fierce weather, now there are complex drip irrigation systems and green trellises full of bunches of grapes. I got to experience that change, to see the landscape gradually change. Perhaps that is why, in my opinion, this place still retains the freshness of an orchard and has managed to incorporate the magnificence of a palace. This is perhaps my story today, which, like all of them, repeats itself. One hundred years ago my grandfather, Francisco Hinojosa, arrived in these lands and I imagine that he saw this landscape in a similar way to mine, only even more desert-like, totally abandoned, with no aborigines to inhabit it anymore, withdrawn from the Chilean side of the mountain range, and without plantations to take advantage of its particular oasis climate: of very warm days and cool nights.
I tend to think that it was my grandfather Francisco, “El Pichón”, who was first dazzled as I was then, and it was he who then began to plant vines in this hard soil, trusting that the vine plants would adapt perfectly to the inclemencies of our climate. The days went by and El Pichón, due to the effect of the passage of time on his own body, could no longer work in the fields, and decided to divide his land among his five children, choosing a particular color for each sector in which he divided his land with joy and nostalgia. Yes, my mother got Blue, the color of the sky that we then chose as our name. Today, Shirley Hinojosa, daughter of Pichón, and mother of me and my two brothers, Alejandro and Ezequiel, is the leader of this agricultural project, which is especially dedicated to the care of the vines, peaches and plums that sow the soil we walk on every day.
What in 1991 was a forest and about 20 hectares of vineyards, today is an extensive estate populated not only by plants and men who work them, but also by pipes and engines that propel the drip irrigation, wires and poles that support the anti-hail nets and other technological elements that give, in the XXI century, an unthinkable care, for those times, for each of the vines and fruit trees. Although with a strong production bet towards the food and wine matrix, Finca La Azul dedicates an annual percentage of its harvest to the production of its own wines, produced in Bodega La Azul, installed in the west end of the farm since 2003, and accompanied by a Criollo Restaurant that cooks and welcomes tourists and locals since 2011, run by Ezequiel, my brother in the middle.