Argentina is a country that is extremely diverse. From the glaciers of Patagonia, to the deserts of Salta, this country offers so many different stunning landscapes and cities across a large stretch of territory. Though the country may offer various cultures and sceneries, one thing that Argentines everywhere agree on is their love for their wine! So much so that wine is designated by the government as the official beverage of Argentina.
When it comes to regions, Mendoza is by far the most famous for wine tasting Argentine style. But lesser known regions such as Salta and Patagonia are just as beautiful to visit and offer the same level of quality wine. In this article, we are going to focus on some of the best wineries in Mendoza that should be on your Argentina wine tasting itinerary.
TOP MENDOZA WINERIES & WINE TASTING GUIDE
Getting to and around Mendoza
The ideal airport to fly into when traveling to Mendoza, Argentina, is the Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport, commonly known as El Plumerillo Airport. This airport is located just a few miles from the city center and offers regular flights from Buenos Aires and other South American cities. If traveling from the US, you may need to connect in Buenos Aires or Santiago, Chile, before arriving in Mendoza.
Once you arrive at the airport, you can easily take a taxi or hire a private driver to get to your accommodations in Mendoza.
Taxis are readily available outside the airport, but be sure to negotiate the price beforehand. Another option is to rent a car, which can be a convenient way to explore the wineries and vineyards in the region. However, be aware that driving in Argentina can be challenging, and it’s recommended to have a GPS or a detailed map.
The official currency in Argentina is the Argentine peso (ARS). Credit cards are widely accepted in Mendoza, especially in hotels, restaurants, and wineries. However, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases or tips. ATMs are available throughout the city, but be aware that some ATMs may have withdrawal limits or fees.
Spanish is the official language in Argentina, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas, including Mendoza. However, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Spanish phrases before traveling to Argentina, especially if you plan to explore rural areas or interact with locals. In general, the people in Mendoza are friendly and welcoming to visitors, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or recommendations.
Mendoza Wine Tours
If you don’t feel like driving, there are several “grape” options to embark on guided wine tours throughout Mendoza.
Barricatours offers a private tour and comfortable transport to various wineries throughout Mendoza with hotel pickup and dropoff. They also include a fantastic lunch experience with local wine pairings.
Kahuak Tours offers a similar full-day experience for a bit less of a price tag, though it’s not private. Despite this, it’s still a very highly-rated tour, includes lunch, hotel pickup and drop-off, and in addition to wine tasting, you’ll stop at an olive oil factory to sample local flavors.
For the luxurious Winetraveler, embark on a full-day wine tour of the Uco Valley with Mendoza Andes 4×4 / The Tintos. This exclusive tour will take you off the beaten path to three distinct wineries, each showcasing their own unique terroir. Avoid the crowds and enjoy a more intimate experience as you learn about the winemaking process and sample a variety of wines. The tour culminates with a gourmet lunch, prepared by a talented chef at a 5-star resort, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Tupungato volcano. Indulge in a wine pairing as you savor the delicious flavors of the region.
Active travelers will appreciate this half-day guided bike tour also from Kahuak. Led by a knowledgeable local guide, pedal through picturesque vineyards while learning about the winemaking process of one of South America’s most famous wine regions. Immerse yourself in the fresh air and scenic views as you cycle past rolling hills and lush landscapes. Along the way, enjoy multiple tastings of locally produced wines and savor a delicious lunch featuring traditional Argentine specialties. The tour includes convenient hotel pickup and drop-off.
Top Mendoza Wineries to Visit for Wine Tasting
Visitors can taste wines at Kaiken any day they are open without a reservation, making this winery an easy stop in Mendoza. The winery was built in 1920, giving it some historical context. Kaiken is a brand under the iconic Montes Wines out of Chile, so the quality level is high for the value of wine. Malbec is the main grape you’ll find at this winery but ask about the Brut Sparkling Wine made in the traditional method with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, or the Estate Malbec Rosé for something a little different.
While visiting the property, you can choose from several different tasting options from basic to premium, as well as tours around the vineyard and Feng Shui winery. Additionally, there are other activities on site such as a vineyard picnic option and a blending game where you can make your own wine!
Bodega Catena Zapata
About a thirty-five-minute drive from Kaiken is the world-renowned Bodega Catena Zapata. Founded in 1902, Bodega Catena Zapata is credited with being one of the pioneering wineries in Argentina’s Mendoza region and for putting Malbec on the map as an Argentine specialty. Family-owned and operated, Catena Zapata is led today by Nicolás Catena and Laura Catena, the third and fourth generations, respectively, of this iconic Argentine winemaking family.
Visiting Catena Zapata requires making a reservation by inquiring on their website. The winery offers three types of tours: The Catena Pyramid Visit, which includes a tasting of three high-end wines and a walk-through of the barrel room for $30; the Renaissance of Malbec Visit, which is a tour based on the history of Malbec and includes a barrel tasting in addition to four high-end wines, cheese and charcuterie for $100; and the Adrianna Vineyard Grand Cru Visit, which is a tour based on the famous Adrianna Vineyard, including a vineyard tour and a barrel tasting of five exclusive wines along with tapas for $150.
Of note, Catena Zapata recently opened Angélica – Cocina Maestra, on February 10th, 2023. It is a “wine first” experience that reimagines the pairing experience, where diners start with a choice of wine menus, each a flight of five wines, and their flight is then paired with 10 dishes. Led by the ‘wine chefs’ – Nicolás Catena, Alejandro Vigil, and Laura Catena – the restaurant puts wine at the center of the dining experience. The restaurant is named after Angélica Zapata, family matriarch and education pioneer who was headmistress of the local country school. The building recreates a traditional Italian borgo village, paying homage to the Catena family’s roots. The restaurant has a dining capacity of 38 seats with a 10-course menu, and it is the first restaurant endeavor from Nicolás Catena, Laura Catena, and winemaker Alejandro Vigil.
A little over an hour from the city center area of Mendoza in the Tupungato Valley on a property surrounded by unspoiled nature is Argentina’s leading organic winery, Domaine Bousquet. Visiting this property used to mean a step back in time, but the winery now has a dirt road, instead of a dirt track, and electricity, in addition to the top-rated, 35-seat Gaia Restaurant, which focuses heavily on local, organic ingredients made into culinary creations by Tupungato-born and-raised, New York-trained Chef Adrian Baggio. Staying true to its principles of quality organic wines, Domaine Bousquet is very much an authentic Argentine winery experience with world-class flare.
Reservations are recommended for both the tour and tasting and dining in the restaurant on site, but the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly. Domaine Bousquet is a French-inspired Argentine winery producing Argentina’s first organic wines of value and quality.
Bodegas Salentein is a winery located in the heart of the Uco Valley, one of the most prestigious wine regions in Argentina. The winery is renowned for its innovative wine tasting experiences, unique architecture, and stunning surroundings. It’s situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, offering breathtaking views of the Andes.
The winery was established in 1996 by Dutch businessman Mijndert Pon, who was inspired by the natural beauty of the region and the potential for producing high-quality wines. The winery has since gained international recognition for its wines, which are made using sustainable and organic farming practices.
Visitors to Bodegas Salentein can enjoy a variety of wine tasting experiences, including tours of the vineyards and cellar, tastings of their award-winning wines, and food pairings. The winery’s “Wine & Dine” experience is particularly popular, as it pairs their wines with local cuisine, offering visitors a taste of Argentina’s rich culinary culture.
One of the standout features of Bodegas Salentein is its architecture, which was designed by the renowned architects Eliana Bormida & Mario Yanzon. The winery is built into the side of a hill, with a series of tunnels and underground cellars. The striking design of the winery is a blend of modern and traditional elements, with the use of natural materials like stone and wood.
Winetravelers have recently praised Bodegas Salentein for its stunning location, the quality of the wines, and knowledgeable and friendly staff. Visitors to the winery can also explore the surrounding area, which includes hiking trails, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities.
Located approximately 25 km southwest of the city of Mendoza you can find Bodega Septima. It was established in 1999 and is part of the Codorníu Raventós group, which has a long history of winemaking dating back to the 16th century.
The winery is situated on a hillside, offering stunning views of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. Visitors to Bodega Septima can enjoy guided tours of the vineyards, as well as wine tastings paired with local cheeses and meats. The tasting room features floor-to-ceiling windows, offering panoramic views of the vineyards and the Andes mountains. Visitors can also take a tour of the cellar, which features traditional oak barrels and state-of-the-art stainless steel tanks.
Bodega Septima is particularly well-known for its Malbec wines, which are made using grapes grown at high altitude in the Uco Valley. The winery also produces other varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah, among others.
Septima also offers a range of other activities, including bike tours, horseback riding, and hot air balloon rides, making it an excellent destination for travelers looking for a unique and memorable experience in Mendoza.
Bodega Ruca Malen
Bodega Ruca Malen is a winery located in the Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza, Argentina. The winery was founded in 1998 and is known for producing high-quality wines using sustainable and organic farming practices.
One of the standout features of Bodega Ruca Malen is its unique wine tasting experiences. The winery offers a variety of options, including a blending workshop where visitors can create their own blend of wine. During this experience, visitors are taken on a tour of the vineyards and cellar, where they learn about the different grape varieties and the winemaking process. They then get to taste various wines and use their newfound knowledge to create their own unique blend, which they can bottle and take home.
In addition to the blending workshop, Bodega Ruca Malen offers traditional wine tastings and food pairings. The winery’s restaurant is particularly popular, offering a range of dishes made with local ingredients that are paired with the winery’s award-winning wines.
Bodega Norton is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery was founded in 1895 and has since gained international recognition for its high-quality wines, particularly its Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Visitors to Bodega Norton can enjoy guided tours of the vineyards, cellar, and production facilities, as well as wine tastings and food pairings. The winery’s restaurant, La Vid, is also highly recommended, offering a range of dishes made with local ingredients that are paired with the winery’s award-winning wines.
In addition to the locale, one of the standout features of Bodega Norton is its architecture, with a mix of traditional and modern elements that reflect the winery’s long history and commitment to innovation.
Winetravelers have recently noted the unique experiences offered at Norton, such as the wine and cheese pairing and the “after-hours” tour of the winery and cellar. Definitely consider adding it to your Mendoza wine tasting list.
Luxury Vineyard Resorts in Mendoza
Why bounce around wine tasting all day when you can do it from the comfort of a luxury wine hotel in Mendoza? Here are some of our top picks to consider using as bases during your next trip to the region.
The Vines Resort and Spa
The Vines Resort and Spa is located in the heart of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, surrounded by vineyards and the majestic Andes mountains. The resort offers many classic wine-focused experiences, including vineyard tours, wine tastings, and food pairings. Adventure travelers can also enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the surrounding countryside. The resort’s luxurious accommodations and world-class spa make it the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring.
Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Resort
Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Resort is a luxurious vineyard resort located in the Uco Valley. It’s set on a 320-acre estate surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and the majestic Andes mountains. Casa de Uco also provides wine-focused experiences to guests, including tastings and tours of the vineyards and cellar. Guests can also participate in wine blending sessions, where they can create their own unique blend of wine. The resort’s restaurant offers a farm-to-table experience, with ingredients sourced from the resort’s own garden and local producers.
Accommodations on this property are modern and stylish, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. Each room and suite features a private terrace, outdoor shower, and luxurious amenities. If you’re the outdoorsy type, there are plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding options available at the property.
Cavas Wine Lodge
Cavas Wine Lodge features a world-class wine cellar and restaurant, showcasing the best wines and cuisine from the region. Guests can enjoy private tastings with the Cava’s sommelier or a vineyard tour to learn about the winemaking process. The resort also offers wine-themed activities like grape harvesting, blending workshops, and cooking classes where guests can learn how to prepare traditional Argentine dishes.
The resort’s accommodations are luxurious and spacious, each with a private terrace overlooking the vineyards or mountains. The lodge’s amenities include a spa, infinity pool, and outdoor Jacuzzi, providing guests with the ultimate relaxation experience.
For adventure seekers, and not unlike the other resorts we’ve mentioned, Cavas Wine Lodge offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and hot air balloon rides over the vineyards. The resort’s location provides easy access to nearby attractions, including Aconcagua Provincial Park and local hot springs.
Not ready to stop wine tasting? Head to Salta
While Malbec still reigns supreme as the most popular and well-known grape coming out of this South American country, another grape has made a name for itself in the northern province of Salta. White wine lovers rejoice, because Argentina’s native Torrontés grape makes for a lovely aromatic and refreshing white wine. Follow the Salta Wine Trail from Salta City down to Cafayate and stop to taste some of the best of Torrontés.
While visiting Piattelli Vineyards outside of Cafayate, which sits at 5600 feet above sea level, you will be absolutely amazed at the incredible postcard landscape that surrounds the property. From the high desert mountains to the surrounding vineyards, Piattelli’s Cafayate winery offers arguably one of the most beautiful tasting vistas in the world. Their wines are equally as beautiful. From the Cafayate portfolio, try the Reserve Torrontés grown at almost 6,000 feet. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Malbec-Tannat blend round out the portfolio. Ask about the “Arlene Series” of wines grown high up in the Andes Mountains.
For an added bonus, you can also taste the Mendoza portfolio of Piattelli wines or visit the Mendoza winery during your visit to that region. If you plan on visiting either location, fill out the contact form on the website to schedule a time for your tasting and tour.
Bodega Colomé is not only the oldest winery in Argentina, dating back to 1831, but it is also home to the highest vineyards in the world at around 10,000 feet. The high-altitude vineyards create wines of unique complexity and concentration.
A visit to Colomé will take you way off the beaten path, as it is about three hours from Cafayate, and about a 45-minute to an hour drive from the nearest small town of Molinos. If you visit the estate, it may be best to stay on site at the Estancia Colomé and spend time visiting the eclectic James Turrell art museum on the property.
Colomé has been a part of the Hess family since 2001, and Donald Hess has revitalized the property and made it into one of the most exceptional wineries to visit. From a wine adventure travel standpoint, it is in one of the most remote regions of the world, far from the nearest tourist attraction. For those wine lovers looking to taste some of Argentina’s more classic wines from a modernized historic winery in a beautifully secluded area, Bodega Colomé checks all the boxes.
Winetraveler Tip: Want to stay in Salta (Northern Argentina) during your visit? Take a look at some of the top luxury hotels at these low prices.
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