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Mendoza, Argentina has lovely
plazas, excellent food, stunning mountains, and a sophisticated nightlife.
What many travelers don't know is that Mendoza is a very affordable destination
for wine tourism.
|While passing through the
western Argentina provincial capital, you must visit the vineyards at Maipú
and Luján de Cuyo. Wine is a major part of the city's culture, and
their flourishing economy is based completely around the rapidly growing
wine industry. There are both large commercial wineries and small family
wineries. After you see the process of wine making and having a generous
tasting, you'll appreciate why wine is such a large part of life in Mendoza.
When Spanish and Italian
immigrants flooded Argentina in the late 19th century, modern grapes were
introduced and today the popular grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon,
Merlot, Malbec, Syrrah, Chardonnay, Chenin, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Argentina was one of the
five largest wine producers in the world in the early 20th century but
they exported very little since the consumption within the nation used
up all that was produced. In the 1990s, Chile used strong marketing campaigns
to import wine to Europe, and Argentina followed suit shortly after. The
climate in the Mendoza and San Juan provinces is ideal for growing wine
as the climate is warm and sunny with cool nights. Try a bottle or two
at home before you visit Argentina and you will be even more excited for
your Mendoza wine tour.
There are plenty of ways
to visit the wineries in Mendoza: driving, walking, taking a bus, but one
of the best ways to experience a wine tour is on bicycle. In Mapiú
you can visit wineries that are a short five to twenty minute ride from
each other. If you're just passing through Mendoza and can't allow time
for a bike tour, stop at Sastre Burgos, four blocks north of the main plaza.
It is only a 15 peso tour which includes a tasting of 15 wines, an excellent
|Here are a few recommendations
on where to tour and eat from north to south. On Montecaseros, La Rural
winery has free admission that includes one wine and an interesting museum.
Further down the same road, A la Antigua is a small operation that produces
olive oil, liqueurs, hard liquors (including absinthe), and a variety of
sweets. There is a 10 pesos charge but then you can taste pretty much whatever
you want. A bit more expensive, is Trapiche winery which costs 25 pesos.
You may have heard of Trapiche as they export far and wide and have a very
modern facility on Nueva Mayorga. Continuing south, on Perito Moreno is
another contemporary facility, Tempus Alba. Admission is set at 20 pesos,
but the area is beautiful and they have a delicious lunch menu.
Next, peddle to Familia
Di Tomaso, one of the oldest bodegas in the region. The 10 peso tour includes
a tasting of 6 wines and they also have a lovely restaurant with outdoor
seating. The last winery on the route is Carinae where you have to try
the Prestige Cruz de Piedra, which is a harmonious blend of Malbec, Cab,
and Syrah aged for 15 months in French oak.
Before you go make sure to
check the weather as on sunny days you will need lots of sunscreen and
water. While rain and cold temperatures are less common, you will want
to wear waterproof layers. If you buy any wine make sure your purchase
are secure and well-padded before you put them in your backpack or bike