Mendoza: Top 10 Wineries
Bodega Dolium (Ruta 15, Km 30, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo). This is a small family-run bodega. They store the wine in amphoras, which are the bottles used by Greeks and Romans in classic wine-production. Opened in 1997, it was the first Argentine bodega to use underground wine-storing techniques. The owners run the tours, thus adding both a personal and family touch to your visit. You can also personalize your tour to include tastings of your preferred wines. There’s an option to have lunch with the owners, which includes a tasting of six wines.
Luigi Bosca (San Martín 2044, Mayor Drummond, Luján de Cuyo). Established in 1901, this bodega is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Arizu family. Tours strive to take visitors through all the stages of wine-making, from the cultivation of the grapes to grape crushing and barreling. After a tasting session, you can visit the bodega’s art gallery to enjoy the ‘Wine Way of the Cross’ by local artist Hugo Leytes. It portrays the history of Mendoza’s wine industry. Luigi Bosca presides over seven wine farms situated in the Mendoza province. One of its biggest sellers is the Finca la Linda brand, which is readily available in shops throughout Argentina.
Fabre Montmayou (Roque Saenz Peña, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo). Opened in 1992, Fabre Montamyou is a French-owned bodega with almost 220-acres (90-hectares) of vineyards. The main varietals are Malbec, Cabarnet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. Tours, by appointment only, are given in English, French, German (upon prior request) and Spanish. After a tour you can enjoy a ‘make your own blend’ activity where you meet with a sommelier and have a go at making your own wine. Foodies will enjoy the wine and cheese pairings.
Bodega la Rural (Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, nr Maipú). Italian Philip Rutini opened this bodega in 1885, making it one of the oldest in Argentina. It produces the prestigious Rutini wines. The bodega has a capacity to store up to 10-million liters of wine, and it exports over 1-million cases of wine per year. The 45-minute tours include a visit to the vineyard and bodega, wine tasting and a tour of the Museo del Vino (Wine Museum). The museum is home to a 4,500 items relating to wine-making, such as tools and machinery, vintage bottles, books and catalogues. During the summer months you can enjoy a gourmet wine and food pairing meal.
Finca Flichman (Munives 800, Barrancas, Maipú). In 1873 Polish immigrant Sami Flinchman settled in Maipú and set up this winery, which opened in 1910. Tours take in parts of the bodega that date back to 1873, the bottling area and then culminate with tastings of fine wines. The bodega has three other sites in Mendoza, which collectively produce 24,000 liters of wine per hour. The view of the Andes from the vineyard is spectacular.
Viñedos y Bodega La Agrícola (Ruta 33, Km 7.5, Fray Luis Beltran, Maipú). Alberto Zuccardi, an Argentine of Italian descent, opened this bodega in 1963. It’s famous for the production of the Santa Julia brand of wines, one of the most commonly seen in Argentina. It also produced Argentina’s first Ultra Premium wine made from the Tempranillo grape, Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 1997. Through theCasa del Visitantes, the bodega arranges a variety of tours, including a bike and tasting tour, tours in classic cars, and picnics. The restaurant puts on regular art exhibitions and live music events.
Bodegas López (Ozamis 375, General Gutiérrez, Maipú). This bodega is in the heart of Maipú and offers free guided tours that include a wine tasting; enjoy more tastings for an extra charge. Visit both the classic wine-making plant and a plant used for producing sparkling wine. There’s also a small museum with some interesting exhibits, such as old vehicles and equipment. To visit the bodega’s vineyards you’ll need to book 48-hours in advance. True wine enthusiasts can sign up for sommelier and tasting courses.
Bodegas Valentin Bianchi (Ruta 143 and Calle Valentín Bianchi, Ciudad de San Rafael). This is one of the most visited vineyards in the Mendoza region. It’s popular for both the wines and unrivalled views of the Andes. Walking and bike tours traverse the vineyards and visit the production rooms before finishing with mandatory tastings. There’s a huge onsite shop to tempt you to take home a bottle or two of what you’ve just sampled. Ask about gourmet food evenings.
Bodegas Navarro Correas (San Francisco del Monte, Godoy Cruz, Mendoza). This winery dates back to start of the 19th-century when Juan de Dios Correas planted his first grapevines in the foothills of the Andes. It’s a classy looking bodega complete with a swanky wine bar and exhibition space for traveling art displays. Check the website for different tasting options, which include three to four varieties of wine.
Chandon (Ruta 15, Km 29, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo). Visit the bodega of the Argentine branch of one of the world’s most well-known producers of sparkling wine. Tours explain the history of sparkling wine and the process of producing it. Tastings include up to six varieties of sparkling wine and can be paired with cheese boards or food tasting menus.
As there are so many bodegas to choose from in the region, what many do is join a tour that visits between two and six bodegas in one day. You could also rent a car a go independently, but you won’t be able to consume as much wine if you are driving.
Try companies like Ampora Wine Tours (Sarmiento 647, Mendoza), Trout and Wine Tours (Espejo 266, Mendoza) andUncorking Argentina (Belgrano 1093, Mendoza). All arrange half and full-day tours with bi-lingual wine experts.
Alternatively, explore the region on a bike; just be careful on the way home if you’ve had your fair share of wine. Mr. Hugo is a local chap who runs Mr Hugo Wineries and Bikes (cnr Catamarca and Rioja, Mendoza). He’ll take you on a day-tour of numerous wineries plus visits to an olive oil farm and chocolate factory, if requested. Mendoza Wine Bike Tour (Espejo 65, Mendoza) is another independently-run bike tour offering a similar service to Mr. Hugo.
If you happen to be around during the first week of March then you’ll be able to enjoy the Fiesta de la Vendimia. This festival celebrates the grape harvest and just about everything else associated with Mendoza’s wine-making heritage, including plenty of consumption. In addition to wine tasting, you’ll be able to sample local cuisine and enjoy folkloric music and dance performances. On the Friday night, festival-goers head to the Frank Romero Day Amphitheater in Parque San Martín for the presentation of the festival queen contestants. Then, on the Saturday there’s a procession followed by the crowning of the queen. Ask at your hostel or hotel about tickets for this event. Otherwise, hang around Plaza Italia, where a big screen broadcasts events and the local wineries circulate with free samples.