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Jo's World,Rum,Spirits,Wine

How to get away from wine ~ Go to Puerto Rico and visit Bacardi ~ Island Time Style

When I passed this group of young adults talking about wine and filming their adventure, I had to ask permission to take a picture for you all. I wanted to prove that it is there (in Puerto Rico) what it is here in the US… a civilized way of life.

So, let’s just first say that you can’t get away from wine in Puerto Rico. This island of enchantment had Christoper Columbus, who came in and raped and pillaged this country island way back when for the Spanish. For whatever reason, Columbus and his men tried to kill all of the indigenous people in the Caribbean, so today it’s next to impossible to find an original Taino Indian.

I sold a lot of wine through V. Suárez, whose sales force really enjoyed that my husband was/is Puerto Rican. They took me in as one of their own, and I can tell you this… While working on the island, it’s one of the most pleasurable gigs I had during that time. Not able to really enjoy the benefits of the island during the day, let’s just say when I was dropped off at night, the world became my oyster.

How to get away from wine ~ Island Time Style

Leaving the mainland US helps to clear out the wine cobwebs; and, ending up on a tropical island somewhere is a real plus.

Before I left California, I reached out to Bacardi. To my amazement, their listed phone number is “no longer in service, or has been disconnected.” I thought, this has got to be a mistake. How can you be as big as Bacardi, and not have an updated phone number, including having the old one on your Website?

So, not to be discouraged, I went to their site and left a message in their comments section during early January, in preparation for our visit. “Greetings, I’m a wine and spirits blogger, and I’m coming to Puerto Rico. I’d like to get information about visiting you.” No answer came back. That didn’t work. I didn’t hear back, so off we went… Jose and I, my two daughters, their husbands (now my sons), and the new babies for each of them… Diaz, party of eight.

When we got to the island, I persisted… The phone recording was still the same, “The number you are trying to reach, 787-788-8400, is no longer in service or has been disconnected…” We then got out every tourist book available, the number was still 787-788-8400… and no longer in service. So, we began searching the Internet, and found all kinds of reviews that let us know that this wasn’t going to be a warm and fuzzy, like winery tours are; although one similarity existed… that being in a wine cellar and Bacardi requires another layer… Not going to be good for the babies, we thought, so we knew that some of us would take the tour and some of us would stay behind.

Melanie came up with taking a ferry to Bacardi, which was definitely a plus. When we arrived, I realized why a facility like Bacardi can disconnect a phone number that no longer serves consumers. One the side of their main building is a painted mural… “Bacardi, Home of the most awarded rum in world.” On their Website under Fundamental Values, it’s written, “Caring in all we do.”

I’d say, except for phone numbers.

The guys were going to take the tour; I decided that the two tickets for rum beverages was enough for me, since I had learned that the tour isn’t about how rum is distilled (our main interest). It’s a historical walk through how Bacardi came to be… History I can get from the Web. The guys missed the first tour, which they had been waiting for, because killing time for some of us – not me – meant going to their gift shop. “Viola” the tour came and was just about to leave when they emerged.

Just before it took off, my son Heath tried to catch it. Instead, we were given more tickets for free beverages.

“Sorry, guys, you’ll have to wait for the next tour, here are a couple of tickets. Have some more rum while you’re waiting.”

What did this teach us?

If you stage it right, you can go to Bacardi and just have their free beverages for an afternoon in the great outdoors, in their covered for sun pavilion. Seriously… Bring a picnic.

But, after two really great piña coladas, it was more important to me to be able to walk than it was to wait for another tour in a half to one hour (with babies), so we decided to exit stage right, and head back to Old San Juan to explore.

By the time I realized that whether or not I visited, my main goal had become to photograph the grounds. I love the tropics and what it has to offer, so I met my goal during the waiting and sipping. Enjoy this slide show.

Oh, and by the way, when I returned home, the very next day I got a response from their PR department (two weeks and a round trip to the island later):

Dear Ms Diaz,

Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding Bacardi Corporation (Puerto Rico) tour information. As per your request, please find the pertinent information below: blah, blah, blah… And it DID include a new phone number.

I responded:

Thank you for your response. I returned last night from Puerto Rico. We visited your refinery, and I’ll be writing about it in an upcoming blog posting.

Nothing else came back, because they’re too big to fail. I love their “island time” style….

So, here you go, Bacardi. Thanks for the party.

2 Responses to “How to get away from wine ~ Go to Puerto Rico and visit Bacardi ~ Island Time Style”

  1. richard says:

    It looks like you had a blast! It would have been interesting to see the production process for a tour, too.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    We did, and my heart is still there… I agree on the blast, Richard. I wonder if that’s full of trade secrets, so one one enters. Lots of security around the place. Let’s just say, “Don’t stray off the path.”

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