By Jackie Rydstrom and friends

In the heart of Santa Ana, provincially San José, Costa Rica, lies an unexpected oasis of lush tropical woodland and vineyards in the secluded grounds of the Zamora Estate.  The Zamora Family have been there for many years, passed down through the generations, but only recently have they opened up their vineyard to the public for harvest day, this year being on June 4th 2016.  The event promises grape picking, a vineyard tour, barbecues, live music and naturally, plenty of wine and were you so inclined, time to foot-stamp the collected grapes later in the day!

Luckily, the weather on Saturday blessed us with warm sunshine throughout the entire event, and as my friends and I drove down the track at 10:00am, the allotted invitation time advertised on their facebook page, we grew silent with the enchantment of the natural, Costa Rica beauty surrounding us.  This, I thought, was going to be a great day!

Parking the car and following the pathway to the marque, we were a little perturbed to find only a few people floating about at the appointed hour, so perhaps in “Tico” time, we´d have to wait awhile before the expected tour starts?  A table was sort as far away from the bellowing music as possible, and there we sat somewhat bemused as to when the whole deal was going to kick-off.  At 5,000 for the entry, I hoped at least we´d learn a little about the vineyard and the wine it produced, but looking dismally at the 2 TV screens by the sides of the music decking, “wrestling” of all things was being transmitted for our entertainment and bore no resemblance to what we´d all paid to come and see.

music Zamora

Not quite the welcome we were expecting at the II Vendimia 2016?                                                                      Jecsinior

But later on, Jecsinior soon got the party started!

After nearly an hour, we figured to go and investigate an opening beyond the marque and to our amazement, after walking through a stretch of woodland, lay before us a field of grapevines, with quite a crowd of visitors happily picking the fruits off the trees.  Nice to know huh?…. and one can only presume these folks had been there from last year and knew the ropes, but as “newbies” and having no events team or sign post around to assist, we had to work the agenda out for ourselves.

Finding a bucket and secateurs was also a bit of a chore, but once we´d established ourselves, the delicious grapes got picked, half eaten, half stacked away for pressing.

the PVA team!

The Pura Vida Guide Team hard at work!

I wondered though, after all my hard labour, if the Zamora family would kindly reward us with a glass of their finest, maybe a sample of their vintage from last year?  Sadly and utterly disappointingly, that was not to be!  Not only were we somewhat hoodwinked into gathering their harvest, going back to the bar for a well-earned refreshment, the wine on offer was shockingly NOT their own!  Oh, such a black-mark on the Zamora Estate and as the French would say, one heck of a “faux-pas“!  And though I am no connoisseur of wine, even I could tell the minute serving in the plastic cup, was a shoddy choice from some cheap bottle and begrudged the cost of the ₡2,000 charged for the privilege. All servings of food from the barbecue had the same ₡2,000 price tag, delicious chunky slices of prime steak was, by far the best going, although I wouldn´t say any of the portions were particularly generous.

Expecting this…..

Photo image of wine

But got a wine from another Vineyard…..

wine at Zamora

Thankfully during our food, the chap singing to us on our arrival had taken a break and given the ears a rest and in his replacement, quite a good vocal from the jovial Jecsinior sang his country songs and had the audience dancing and clapping to his Costa Rican tunes.


Would I go there again next year?  A slight possibility, yes, but more to return just for a family day out with children to enjoy the beautiful gardens, pool, woodlands and vineyard.  But certainly no if I want to taste the Zamora wine, learn about the making of it and enjoy any of the Estate´s hospitality.  Sadly they failed quite dismally there and hope in the future harvests, they get their act together and reserve some of their produce to serve the visitors and dare I say, have enough bottles available to purchase and share with friends back home in commemoration of a special day.  It equally would have been nice to have at least one member from the Zamora family in attendance to welcome us at some point, perhaps even given us a small lecture of the history of their beloved vineyard, after all, we did pay the 5,000 to pick their own grapes without so much as a thankful glass of their liquid gold!

Zamora shop

A very dismal display of wine accessories but NO Costa Rica Vino for sale from the Zamora Estate?




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