About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Little Spot Of Wine In Cuenca, Ecuador

Mr. & Mrs. Wine Guy
The fetching Mrs. Wine Guy and I recently returned from a two month stay in Ecuador.  Ecuador is a beautiful, diverse and delightful country.  It, however, is sometimes a challenge to find a proper venue to enjoy a nice glass of wine.  Fortunately, The Wine Guy is persistant in his persuit and we now have a few regular venues in both Quito and Cuenca that we will enjoy upon our return.   (Ecuador is now our chosen target for retirement living....Grapevine readers wanting to learn more about that venture in our life may want to visit www.togetherontheroadoflife.blogspot.com).

One relaxing venue for us was the Brujas (Witches) Cafe and Bar located along the Rio Tomebamba just adjacent to the historico centro in Ecuador's third largest city, Cuenca.  The high bluff known as the El Barranco insulates the noise of the bustling centro, allowing the rippling water of Rio Tomebamba to provide a backgound of soothing sound in a very scenic setting.  A platform alongside the pathway that accesses the Brujas overlooks the gurling waters and greenbelt and provides a wonderfully staged venue to enjoy appetizers and a glass of wine. We did so on a perfectly beautiful Ecuadorian afternoon and were delighted that we had somewhat impusively decided to try this spot.

It didn't hurt at all that the by the glass or carafe house wine is a little better than the typical Ecuadorian norm.  The house wine here is Concha y Toro and they uniquely will let you choose the varietal.  (Sometimes your house wine choices are simply blanco (white) or tinto (red).  I've often gotten a simple perplexed shrug when I've inquired of a waiter as to whether the house vino tinto is a cabernet, merlot or carmenere  (typically, in Ecuador, it is probably 1 of these 3). I guess it depends on the inventory or perhaps what is open and viable in the back?

In any case, the service and accommodation at Brujas was a step above that.  The fetching Mrs. Wine Guy and I shared appetizer plates of cheese quesadillas and cooked mushrooms along with glasses of Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon.  Perched under shady umbrellas to help protect us from the high UV count (Cuenca's elevation above 8,000 ft makes for intense sunshine) and with a refreshing breeze wafting across the cool waters, we enjoyed a leisurely sojurn and a delightful afternoon.   This will become a regular spot in Cuenca for us to enjoy wine as it's meant to be enjoyed.

We hope you have the opportunity some day to enjoy a glass along the Rio Tomebamba, as well.  Salute!

Update note:   this blog was originally published in August of 2011.  Unfortunately, the Brujas location along the Tomebamba closed in 2012.   While there are other spots to enjoy a glass of wine, we will miss the opportunity to sit in this riverside setting, sipping and watching the world go by!


  1. Retirement in Cuenca is in my very near future and I will visit you to enjoy one or more of your best red wines. I encourage a glass of red wine daily for good health: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz are best for the heart, etc.

  2. Hi wine guy. Did you ever locate a spot to purchase wine for home use and if so, where? If you're considering moving to Cuenca, I'm guessing you'll be all over that.

    1. This was written last summer near the end of a two month stay in Cuenca. Since January of 2012, I've been a permanent resident of this fair city. Like most ex pats, I purchase everyday wine in the supermarket but also always search out places for "finds". You have to be careful and somewhat choosey as many small retailers do not carefully store and inventory their wine (i.e. beware of those with big window displays...the bright sunlight with high uv index here is a wine killer!). I frequent La Taberna, a chain liquor store, and Zona Mejor, a retailer close to the mercado El Arenal (Feria Libre) in West Ceunca.