Everything You Need to Know to visit the best wineries in Mendoza and Argentina's northern region, including the Lujan de Cuyo wine region and Uco Valley.
If you are considering a trip to South America and are a wine enthusiast, then you should know that Argentina is among the best Wine producers in the world.
Argentina's combination of culture and terroir contributes to the country's production of some of the most unique wines in the world.
Argentina offers a high-end travel experience for those wine lovers who want to explore its wine region. The best wineries in Argentina’s wine country offer winery tours, the best cuisine with top-tasting menus by world-famous chefs, wine-tasting experiences, and boutique and luxury vineyard accommodations.
“Wine is a celebration.”
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I wrote this blog post, to share with you everything you need to know to plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Argentina wine region for your 2023 travels.
Continue reading and find out How to visit the best wineries in Mendoza and the country's northern region, including the Lujan de Cuyo wine region, Uco Valley, and the highest vineyards of Argentina.
If you’d rather not plan your own Mendoza wine region tour, you can rely on the expertise of a local Boutique travel company like ours; we will help by offering you a private driver and plan around the best spots, including our recommendations on the best wineries to go for a perfect wine tasting;
With our input on the wineries and when is the best time to go, you can relax and enjoy Argentina's best wine regions without worrying about missing the places locals go, where to find the best cuisine, or driving and getting lost.😏🍷
“Let’s Celebrate Wine!”
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1. The Wine Regions in Argentina
1.2 Argentina, fifth place as a wine producer in the world global ranking
1.3 Travel & Wine
3. Where to Stay on your trip to the wine regions of Argentina:
5. Check This Suggested trip to visit Argentina Wine Regions
Wineries in Argentina are among
the top producers in the world.
Why has the wine of Argentina become so good?, Where are the best wineries located?
What are the best regions to visit in Mendoza province and northern Argentina? And which ones are the best Wine lodges to stay at?...
These are some of the questions that my team and I have been answering for the past years to travelers from all over the world who come to us looking to learn about Argentina’s wine regions and to enjoy the best wine tours in Mendoza and other parts of Argentina;
As a team of local experts in South America, we have helped wine enthusiasts to combine their love of wine and travel.
I love visiting the wine regions of a country when I travel. I am also a wine enthusiast, so when I travel, I combine wine tastings and local Foods. I happen to love wine and travel - and different food!
I have been lucky to visit different wine areas in the world, such as regions in Australia and New Zealand; still, my favorite destinations are definitely in South America.
If you are an enthusiastic explorer of the best wine regions in the world and seek to combine your love of wine and food with travel, then Argentina should be on your bucket list for your next vacation.
Argentina produces some of the most unique wines in the world. The combination of the culture and the terroir are key factors that helped Argentina's wines become famous.
But how exactly have the wines of Argentina become so good? Where are the major wine regions located?
A Brief History of Argentina's Wine regions.
Argentina's viticulture has more than five centuries of history, integrating the knowledge of the native peoples with the tradition of European immigrants.
Italian and Spanish immigrants arrived in Argentina during the colonial population that settled in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, primarily for economic opportunities or to escape devastating wars.
It all started … with the Jesuits.
Wine producers began production in Santiago del Estero from the Moscatel and Uva (grape) Pais strains from Spain. The expansion of its cultivation continued at the hands of the Jesuits, and by 1598 there were vineyards in Córdoba, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, and Misiones.
What about Mendoza Wineries?
On the other hand, Mendoza and San Juan became key sites for top wine production since the wines from Chile entered Argentina from there as Chile already had a strong wine production at that time.
Malbec, France, and the emblematic wine of Mendoza
Years later, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a strong political figure in Argentina, introduced Malbec from France. Although in France, it was used to make a blended wine (mixed with other varietals to give it color), in Argentina, it quickly acclimatized with excellent results thanks to the region’s terroir and climate quality.
Today Malbec has positioned itself as the emblematic variety of Argentina around the world, with more than 43,000 hectares planted.
What about Salta in the northern region of Argentina?
Cafayate, in Salta, has the world’s highest vineyards, all of which are located in the Calchaqui valley, home to the up-and-coming Argentine wine town of Cafayate:
When you compare the wines of Mendoza with those of Cafayate, the Mendoza wine region, Argentina's largest and most commercial, is just 5,000 feet, while Cafayate wines come from grapes at vineyards at 7,000 feet to 9,800 or more.
Argentina, fifth place as a wine producer in the world global ranking.
Twenty years ago, the vineyards and the area cultivated with the best wines in Argentina were concentrated in Mendoza and San Juan regions. Today, there are wine producers in 19 provinces, almost the entire territory of Argentina; many of these wine regions in Argentina often offer top wine quality.
There are 223,585 hectares cultivated with vineyards: Malbec, Cherry, Bonarda, Criolla Grande, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pedro Giménez, which represents 3% of the world surface and positions Argentina in fifth place as a wine producer in the world ranking.
In addition, Argentina currently exports wine to 127 countries, with the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, and the Netherlands being the largest importers.
Wine in Argentina's culture occupies such an important place that the country declared Wine as the national drink of Argentina (the date is celebrated as Argentine Wine Day on November 24th) - I know, maybe we went too far 😁!
Travel and Wines in Argentina
Lately, many wine producers and family-owned wineries have combined their love for wine with travel, offering visits to their wineries, top wine lodges, and wine tours that include fun activities such as a bike tour among the wines, horseback riding, being a sommelier for a day, or cooking lessons.
Of course, the main goal is to learn about wine production in Argentina, all among acres of vineyards, facing the Andes mountain ranges, and always offering the best weather with sunny days.
Mendoza has become the best place to visit for wine enthusiasts from around the world. This is a must-visit place that can be perfect for foodie travelers, honeymooners, and even families looking for great places to enjoy wine while traveling among top wineries.
Now that you understand why Argentina has such a strong Wine identity, you know it should be on your bucket list for your next Holiday... So, which are the best wineries you should not miss? How to get to those wineries, and what are the best Wine lodges to stay at?
Our favorite Wineries in Argentina
Just like I said before, Mendoza, Argentina, has become the best place to visit for wine enthusiasts from around the world; however, if you have extra time, I recommend adding a stop in Salta in the Northwest region of Argentina, visiting Calchaqui valley, home to the up and coming Argentine wine town of Cafayate.
Where to Go Wine Tasting in Argentina
There are many great wineries in Argentina, some are larger than others, and some are boutique and family-owned small wineries. I am sharing with you my selection of my favorite wineries hoping to inspire and help you when planning your next trip to the Wine Route in Argentina.
The options I include are in Mendoza, located in Lujan de Cuyo, Maipu region, and Uco Valley, and our favorite wineries in the northern part of Argentina, the city of Salta, mostly near Cafayate. This last option is ideal if you have extra days to spend in Argentina.
6 Wineries we love, located in Mendoza: Argentina´s most prominent wine region.
#1 Zuccardi Valle de Uco
📍Valle de Uco, Mendoza
The Zuccardi family has been producing wines in Argentina since 1963; from their vineyards and olive groves located in different areas of Mendoza, Zuccardi is recognized locally and internationally for producing excellent wines and olive oils, which reach more than 60 countries on five continents.
Zuccardi Valle de Uco has topped the World’s Best Vineyards list three times in a row. In 2022, Zuccardi’s family was inducted into the World’s Best Vineyard’s Hall of Fame, formed by all the vineyards that have topped the annual poll of The World’s Best Vineyards, which are no longer eligible to be voted on new editions of the list.
The Zuccardi Winery has a Hospitality area made up of two visitor centers and three restaurants in Bodega Santa Julia, Bodega Zuccardi Valle de Uco, and the Zuelo oil mill.
The “Piedra Infinita” restaurant opened its doors in March 2016. Located in Valle de Uco, facing the majestic Andes Mountain Range, it offers excellent cuisine in a unique environment.
Visitors can visit the winery spaces and experience walking among the vineyards discovering the characteristics and particularities of the different soils that give the identity of Zuccardi’s wines.
#2 Catena Zapata
📍Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
"Nicolás Catena Zapata is credited with putting Argentinean wines on the world map—by the best expedient of focusing entirely on quality. It's great to know he has started a wine dynasty, too." Jancis Robinson, Financial Times wine journalist.
The story of Catena is the story of Argentine wine.
Founded in 1902, Nicolás’s grandfather Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vineyard in Mendoza. He was sailing from Italy to Argentina in 1898 and leaving behind his famine-stricken European homeland for a land of plenty and opportunity. In the gin-clear air and rolling hills of Mendoza, Argentina, he firmly believed he had found the promised land. In 1902, Nicola planted his first Malbec vineyard in Mendoza.
Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and discovering extreme high-altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza, getting 9th place on the list for the best world vineyards in 2022.
#3 Bodegas El Enemigo, Casa Vigil
Nicolás Catena recruited Alejandro Vigil to lead the winery's research team. He has been the Chief Winemaker of Bodega Catena Zapata for the last 16 years. "Casa Vigil, the divine winery" is the personal project of Alejandro Vigil, who welcomes us and shows us his land and winery. Here we will have lunch. Alejandro has the highest rating ever given to a pure Cabernet Franc wine by Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, awarded to El Gran Enemigo Cabernet Franc of Gualtallary, Mendoza.
#4 Susana Balbo
📍Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
Susana Balbo Wines is a winery dedicated to the production of high-end wines. It offers the possibility of discovering both the typical varietals of Argentina and innovative signature wines. Susana's Signature wines capture her ultimate expression as a winemaker - creating bold wines with an artistic finesse you never get tired of drinking.
In 1981 Susana received her degree in enology and became the first woman in Argentina to do so. Her career started in Cafayate, Salta province, at Michel Torino winery, where she was in charge of developing and stylizing the Torrontes varietal. Afterward, she worked at many well-regarded wineries, such as Martins and Catena Zapata.
In 1999, after working for more than 20 years as a consultant winemaker for national and international wine companies, Susana decided to have her dream come true and started to build Susana Balbo Wines in the heart of Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza.
What we love about Susana Balbo is that it offers an experience based on interaction and entertainment. The winery invites you to play and try and discover the challenge of an oenologist: creating by combining different varietals resulting in a work of art and your blended wine.
📍Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
A French family owns Altavista Winery, with extensive wine traditions not only in Argentina but in France and other parts of the world. This winery offers a combination of French taste and a variety of Argentine culture and passionate style.
The historic winery is set in a beautiful, tranquil setting built in historic Argentine-Spanish architecture. The building was restored, and today you can enjoy modern winemaking and technology in a unique place that offers a piece of Europe in South America.
You can learn about the wine-making process, including wine tasting of different varieties, then enjoy a deli picnic in the gardens.
#6 Kaiken Winery
📍Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
The Caiquén is a wild goose from Patagonia that flies between Argentina and Chile across The Andes. The Caiquén takes up a significant challenge by embarking on this cross-border flight.
Like the Caiquén, Aurelio Montes, founder of the Chilean winery Bodega Montes, made several trips across the Andes until, in 2000, he rediscovered Mendoza as a generous land filled with great vines and hardworking people. In 2001 he realized Mendoza was the perfect place to make Kaikén Wines, which embody everything a great wine ought to be.
Kaiken offers Premium, Unique and elegant wines inspired by the passion and sensuality of Argentina with a bold twist, a celebration of friendship, love, a reunion of sorts... There is a particular concern for the care of the environment. Kaiken promotes a sustainable culture in all stages of making their wines so that their footprint on the earth is “a real contribution of conservation and permanent care.”
You can find in the Winery the newest gastronomic experience of World-famous chef Francis Mallmann, “Ramos Generales,” directing us to this unique and relaxed cuisine where guests will be in close contact with nature and the company of the best wines from Kaiken. You can also taste Disobedience by Chef Mallmann, a wine representing the fusion of “being complex and simple at the same time.”
2 Wineries we love located in the northern region of Argentina, Cafayate; the magic of highly high altitude Wines in Argentina
📍 Molinos, Salta
Colome is the oldest working winery in Argentina. It was established in 1831 and then modernized as you see it today when Swiss businessman Donald Hess purchased it in 2001.
Visiting Colome Winery is a sense of discovery; You will find yourself in a place so high that you can feel like you are touching the clouds. This magical feeling also brings a unique energy to this place, where you can enjoy a glass of excellent wine, disconnect, and be immersed in nature and the vastness of this land.
“A unique and unforgettable experience that starts with an amazing and challenging journey up through the magnificent foothills and mountains of the Cordillera. A magical mix of star-lit skies and an intense, glowing sun that radiates energy adds mystery to this awe-inspiring adventure”.
The Winey has an excellent visitor experience, including the winery visit, wine tasting, lunch, and the James Turrell Museum. Please note that the Museum tour is only available for children over 12 years old.
I highly recommend that Colome also offers an excellent opportunity to sleep among the vineyards in the Estancia Colomé.
#2 El Esteco, Patios de Cafayate
El Esteco is located in the Calchaquí Valleys, a beautiful natural landscape carved by the sun, the mountains, and the vineyards. The location offers unique features that make it ideal for growing the highest vineyards in the world.
It is a mixture of the altitude at than 5,500 feet above sea level, the surprisingly broad temperature range, The desert climate, and the soils that result in a unique terroir that is exclusive of this small region, allowing the winery to obtain the most distinctive and elegant high-end wines, with great concentration of color, deep aromas, and well-defined flavors.
In the heart of The Calchaquí Valley, surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape carved by the sun, the mountains, and the vineyards, lies El Esteco.
Patios de Cafayate Hotel
This is a hidden gem… a stunning hotel offering a great combination of elegance and simplicity with its colonial architecture. There are plenty of things to do, such as Horse Riding, a tour around the vines, wine tasting accompanied by a lovely cheese platter, learning about the wine-making process .. and relaxing by the pool with the most amazing views of the Mountains and the vineyards.
Other Wineries in Argentina …
The wineries list could be much longer than this, but I just wanted to keep it short and straightforward. Other unique, great wineries are not on my list, but I hope to inspire and encourage you to visit Argentina’s Wine Route... As Dr. Nora Vicario, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Province of Mendoza*said about the Wine Route: “you will find places of extraordinary beauty, with lots of amazing vineyards – the perfect wine tourism destination.”
*The 2022 World’s Best Vineyards event was hosted in Mendoza, Argentina.
🍷😄My recommendation: Most of the wineries mentioned here require reservations in advance. Some have great restaurants, while others have Lodges or Estancias to stay among vineyards. However, it is essential to book with as much anticipation as possible. 🖐️
Ensure you contact the wineries before showing up, as most of the best wineries do not take walk-ins. Some have Tourism areas well organized, but not all of them;
📆 If you are interested in a Custom trip to the Wine Route and would like to work with my team and me, get in touch, and let's start planning together! START HERE.
Where are the best hotels to stay in the Wine route Argentina?
In my opinion, Argentina offers the best wine lodges in South America.
You will love these wine lodges in Mendoza and Salta while staying at these cool and quirky accommodations. With superb vineyards, fantastic food, and an eye for sustainability, these properties offer the most romantic wine experiences in South America.
Take a look at my Top 6 list of Luxury and boutique hotels in the Wine Route of Argentina.
Which one’s your favorite? 😍
Our Top 6 Boutique and Luxury Wine hotels in Argentina
✨Cavas Wine Lodge, located in Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza: “A wine paradise at the foot of the Andes;” Cavas is part of the Relais Chateaux collection worldwide.
✨Entre Cielos, located in Vistalba, Mendoza: sixteen exquisite rooms in a spectacular setting – vineyards, and mountains under an endless blue sky. It is one of our favorites because of its stunning views between vineyards.
✨The Vines, Valle de Uco, Mendoza: offering Private Vineyards in the Uco Valley and rare Argentine wines through their tasting room, wine bar & clubs, resort, and spa. The location amongst the vineyards is fantastic, with endless Andes Mountain views and neat little rows of vines stretching in every direction.
✨Grace Cafayate, Cafayate Salta: it is a luxury hotel, spa, and residential villa development in Calchaqui Valley northwest of Argentina, just south of Salta.
✨Patios de Cafayate Hotel: simply stunning! A former colonial house with views over the Calchaquí Valley vineyards, Province of Salta, Argentina.
✨ Estancia Colome: Hidden in a nook of the Calchaquí Valleys, Province of Salta, Argentina, it is home to the oldest winery in the country. This colonial estate will take you on a journey back in time as it unfolds the stories and mysteries it has to tell.
Check this instagram Post we wrote with 5 lodges to fall in Love with the wine country in Argentina
Plan your Trip to the Wine Region of Argentina
Argentina offers, without any doubt, the best wine regions in South America, and by now, if you are a wine enthusiast, you must have realized why Mendoza and Cafayate should be on your bucket list for your next trip to South America.
How to explore the Wine Route in Argentina?
You will probably start in Buenos Aires, the Capital city of Argentina. You will have to take a domestic flight to Mendoza or Salta. A flight from Buenos Aires to Mendoza is a 1 hour 50-minute direct flight from the domestic airport of Buenos Aires and a 2 hour-10 minute flight from Buenos Aires to Salta. There are non-stop flights from Mendoza to Salta (5 per week)with a duration of 1 hr 40 minutes.
The best way to explore the wineries in Argentina is by doing it in a private vehicle with a driver. It is essential to book your visits and wine tastings or activities (cooking lessons, horseback ride, biking, picnics, lunches) in advance...especially during high or peak season.
Some of the wineries we like the most are small and do not take walk-ins.
Of course, if you are interested in booking a whole Itinerary in Argentina - or South America and avoiding all the issues of booking it all yourself, as local experts, we can help. My team and I can help you by designing your perfect custom trip, including the Wine Route in Argentina, and taking care of all the details for you. ✈️ If you are ready to book your trip, book your consultation video call with us.
This is how I would approach planning a trip to the
Wine Country in Argentina👇
One of the first things you need to decide is the time of the year you want to visit Argentina and how much you want to spend on your trip.
Only have 1-week in Argentina?
If you have 1-week in Argentina, you could start by visiting the Capital City, Buenos Aires, and then head to the Province of Mendoza. Focus on the Valleys of the Cuyo and Lujan areas, and if you want to travel a bit further, you can also visit Uco Valley.
It's essential to pick the wineries you want to visit and book your visit in advance.
The selection of your Wine lodge in Mendoza is crucial if you want to stay around wineries. Define your budget and pick the nicest option from the suggestions I shared!
And finally, do not forget that if you're going to enjoy a meal in one of the top restaurants in Mendoza - and Buenos Aires, you must book a table in advance.
Have some extra time? Possibly 9-10 days?
You can make reservations to continue your trip to the Calchaqui Valley in Salta, the Northwest of Argentina. Here you can rent a car or have an organized trip - let us take care of this for you! This area is an absolute hidden gem, full of colored mountains, a strong local culture, and tasty northern foods - make sure to eat the empanadas salteñas and the locally made "humitas." The local food will not disappoint you.
Are you ready to start planning your visit to the Wine region in Argentina?
South America is a foodie and wine lovers Paradise, and you don't want to miss visiting the top places locals go... we have created many experiences for travelers from around the world, including top wine lodges and wine tastings in Mendoza and Salta. Take a look at this itinerary: a great Itinerary to start with👇
Check our suggested two weeks in South America for Food & Wine Lovers trip, and if you are ready to book your journey with us, book your trip consultation Call with us to start planning your trip. We will customize a trip for you!
If you want to work with a team of local South American experts for your next Wine & Food trip to Argentina, get in touch with us, and let's start planning together! We encourage you to plan in advance - 6 or more months - since Argentina's best boutique wineries and luxury lodges get fully booked very soon.
Have you tried Argentine wines? Have you visited Mendoza or Salta? Please leave a comment below with your feedback! I would love to hear from you!
Across South America
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