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Mendoza and Wine Country

The Province of Mendoza can be described as a more sophisticated San Carlos de Bariloche, which is frequented by the younger, hippy crowd. Resting at the base of the Andes mountain range, Mendoza is also a popular adventure destination for hiking (especially Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western world), horseback riding, white-water rafting and skiing. However, the rugged country landscape, which was dubbed as one of the top 10 historic destinations in the world by National Geographic, offers an adventure for visitor´s tastebuds. Mendoza has developed a finely crafted label for itself as The Wine Country.


More and more eyes are watching Mendoza pick the grapes and pop the corks off exquisite wine bottles. It is the largest wine producing area in Latin America that rivals the likes of Napa in the United States and Loire Valley in France. Travelers can spend the day on a bike or in a car moseying along the quiet, charming, green tree-lined streets, which are still bordered by the wide trenches constructed for the irrigation system during its founding. A visit to Av. Bartoleme Mitre will give visitors a chance to see the wide streets and sidewalks in the city, which are bigger than any other in Argentina, as a result of the region rebuilding after a devastating earthquake hit in 1861. During the weekends, artisans sell their wares in the Plaza España and the Avenida San Martín is known to brew up a warm cup of coffee on its sidewalks.


Take a peak into history at The Museo Nacional del Vino,to get an idea of how wine-making first started in the region. Currently producing 70 percent of all the wine made in Argentina, (Argentina is also the fifth largest wine producer in the world), Mendoza province sees little rainfall throughout the year, and remains mostly hot and dry. Such a climate is perfect for visiting, not to mention, excellent growing conditions for red grapes. While Malbec is the true bottle of choice in these parts, Pinot Noir is on the rise as well. It should be known that white wines are not a specialty of Mendoza province.


The two main wine regions close to Mendoza city are Luján de Cuyo, 19 km south of Mendoza and Maipú 16 km from the city. Each area contains a concentrated number of wineries that are open to the public for touring and tastings. Visit quaint family-run wineries and a number of other producers that offer unique tasting opportunities, including artesian olive oil spreads, and dark chocolate liquor-filled truffles. While all winery tours and tastings are free, some of the high-end varieties will cost to taste.


From Mendoza City it’s not difficult to sign-up for a wine tour. In fact, walk along Avenida Las Heras or along the pedestrian mall, Avenida Sarmiento and you’ll come across countless tour operators. Most of these companies offer a one-day tour, with the chance to visit three wineries and then a chocolate artisan as well. Sometimes the tour includes lunch at a winery or famed restaurants in town. Tour guides and vineyard guides typically speak English, as well as Spanish.


If you want to skip Introduction to Wine 101, with the basics of a tour, there are some upper-end tour companies beginning to establish themselves, and they are easily booked ahead of time through the Web. Many of these operators will let you customize your itinerary, but this option will be on the pricier side.


It is also possible to rent a car or hire a taxi (if you want to do some care-free tasting). Taxis for long term rent are called telephone taxis. With wine maps readily available from the tourist office, you can plan your own trip around town and hit certain wineries that a tour doesn’t necessarily visit. This is the best economic option for making sure you reach the popular wineries, without worrying about missing one. Another option is to hop on the bus going either to Maipú or south to Luján de Cuyo and see what you can find.


Make sure you mark you calendars in early March to return to Mendoza for The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The National Grape Harvest Festival), which is filled with activities as well as a beauty pageant.



Practical info


Population: the province is home to more than 1.7 million people


Tel codes: +54 (Argentina) 261 (Mendoza)


Altitude: 760 meters


Temperature
: Mild and dry, wet summers. During summer months like January, average temperatures are 90 F in the day and cool off at night around 65 F. During winter months like July, average temperatures are 58 F in the day and 36 F at night.

Alta Montaña and Valle De Calingasta.







28 Sep 2010

Top Things to See and Do in Mendoza and The Wine Country

Museo ArqueolĂłgico Profesor Mariano Gambier

141606Walking down the Ruta 40 side road lined with metal warehouses, it’s hard to believe one of these could be home to Museo Arqueológico Profesor Mariano Gambier. This unrefined building doesn’t ...
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Museo Santiago Graffigna

141605In 1870, Italian immigrant Santiago Graffigna founded the first winery in the San Juan region. It would become the area’s most famous vineyard. Graffigna continued in the family until 1980. Today, ...
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San Juan, Argentina

Puente del Inca

112852The Puente del Inca (The Bridge of the Inca) is the most interesting and important Incan ruins in the province of Mendoza. Set off the highway en route to Chile, arrange an excursion in Mendoza. ...
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Mendoza, Argentina

Cañon Del Atuel

140695The Canon del Atuel links Valle Grande with El Nihuil with an amazing display of turquoise waters and volcanic formed walls. Tours are available by bus along the 60 km stretch of gravel roads, but ...
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San Rafael, Argentina

Los Reyunos

140694Formed from a massive Edemsa hydroelectric dam, Los Reyunos has become a summer destination for locals and tourists looking to cool off in its glacier-fed waters. Located a few kilometers from Villa ...
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San Rafael, Argentina

Laguna Del Diamante

Situated in a provincial nature reserve, Laguna del Diamante is a treasured location few people manage to visit. The lagoon sits at the western limit of the province at 3250 m (10662’), flanked by ...
Other Activity
San Rafael, Argentina

Tupungato & Parque Provincial Tupungato

Located south of Lujan de Cuyo, Tupungato houses fine wineries throughout the Uco valley, which they share with San Carlos and Tunuyan. The most famous wineries are likely O’Fournier and Salentein, ...
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Around Mendoza , Mendoza, Argentina

Aconcagua Provincial Park

140115Built around the 6,962 m (22,841 ft) Cerro Aconcagua, this provincial park welcomes thousands of hikers and climbers each year. As one of the seven summits, Aconcagua is a highly sought after target ...
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Uspallata, Argentina

Puente Del Inca

Fewer than 10 people call Puente del Inca home but an endless stream of travelers visit the site each year to capture an image of the stunning natural arch bridge that spans the Rio Las Cuevas. It ...
Monument
Uspallata, Argentina

Renacer

When standard wine tours that offer a guided walking tour around the property and a repetitive explanation of the wine making process grow boring, a trip to Renacer can spice things up. With a ...
Other Activity
Luján De Cuyo, Argentina

Vistalba

139919A flair for the dramatic easily describes Carlos Pulenta’s Vistalba winery. Features like the gourmet La Bourgogne restaurant, two all-inclusive (wine too) hotel suites, and a picture window-lined ...
Other Activity
Luján De Cuyo, Argentina

The Best of Mendoza Cuisine

Restaurant Habibi

141694The Lebanese family of Restaurant Habibi allows their culture to permeate the entire space. Each of the five salons has a different theme: calligraphy, women’s eyes, a traditional seating area. ...
Restaurant
La Rioja, Argentina

SoychĂş

141619Those who say Argentines don’t have an appreciation for vegetarian food have never stopped into Soychú. On any day, the carry-out line stretches from the front, through the dining hall, to the ...
Restaurant
San Juan, Argentina

El Juan Resto-Bar

Although it’s near the end of the commercial side of Las Heras street, Al Juan’s Resto-bar is worth finding. The make-your-own-taco plate, which comes with spicy, yes spicy, chicken, beef and ...
Restaurant
Uspallata, Argentina

Lo De Pato

The large Lo de Pato building houses a restaurant, café, and bakery that welcome most Mendoza-based tours for a short break. Unfortunately, its prices are often as impressive as its variety, as it ...
Restaurant
Uspallata, Argentina

Cavas De Cano

139927($25) Despite having made the mandatory reservation, few visitors can hide their surprise when walking into their private dinning room at Cavas de Cano. The night begins with an elaborate picada that ...
Restaurant
Luján De Cuyo, Argentina

Ruca Malen

139926($40) While winery restaurants are common throughout both Luján and Maipu, few have perfected the vineyard-side dinning experience like Ruca Malen. The two-story dinning room is lined with picture ...
Restaurant
Luján De Cuyo, Argentina

Nadia O.f.

(Entrees: $12-$20) Looking to expand her already popular restaurant at her husband’s O’Fournier winery, Nadia O’Fournier opened a second location in the trendy Chacras de Coria ...
Restaurant
Luján De Cuyo, Argentina

Casa De Campo

Located along the famous wine route, Casa de Campo is a rustic-style restaurant that serves up local dishes to perfection. Appetizers include a variety of homemade breads, olives, and cheeses, while ...
Restaurant
MaipĂş, Argentina

La Casa De Doña Tisbe

Doña Tisbe opened her kitchen to the public in February, 2010. This homestyle restaurant will remind visitors of time spent dining with their own grandmothers, as Doña Tisbe often joins in the ...
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MaipĂş, Argentina

Ocho Cepas

139279Few restaurants can match the dining experience at Ocho Cepas. Small dining rooms provide an intimate atmosphere, while the chefs grill up surf and turf to perfection. The menu also offers several ...
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El Rancho

Beef and chivo grill on El Rancho’s parrilla every night, while homemade pastas offer both a vegetarian and artery-pleasing alternative. While the restaurant isn’t fancy, it is one of the nicer ...
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Uspallata, Argentina

Tours in Mendoza and the Wine Country

Cañon del Atuel y Rumbo S.C.

With an office just off the main square, this is a friendly and centrally located tourist agency. Stop into the office to get a full description and photo representations of the numerous excursions. ...
Tour Operator
San Rafael, Argentina

Base Cuatro

As the only tour operator based in Luján city, Base Cuatro’s busy Galeria Pacaccio storefront keeps busy. It splits its focus as a local tour agency for visitors and as a destination tourism ...
Tour Operator
Luján De Cuyo, Argentina

4x4 Foto Traversias

Avoiding the well-worn path of rafting and horseback excursions, 4X4 Foto Traversias offers a series of off-road adventures that highlight the areas natural beauty. It’s only natural that ...
Tour Operator
Uspallata, Argentina

Pizarro Expediciones

Despite operating out of a modified cargo container, located just steps away from Uspallata’s tourist office, Pizarro Expediciones offers a range of activities. Its specialty is rafting; however, ...
Tour Operator
Uspallata, Argentina

Karen Travel

In business since the early 1990’s, Karen Travel best feature is its consistency. It works with a number of experienced guides and offers more than the basic tours to surrounding landmarks. Its ...
Tour Operator
MalargĂĽe , Argentina

Aires De Libertad

Although offering few specialized tours, Aires de Libertad excels in customer service. While it works with a number of experienced guides, the owner fills the drivers seat whenever possible for tours ...
Tour Operator
MalargĂĽe , Argentina

Triásico Valle De La Luna Travel Agency

141601Triásico Vella de Luna puts together groups of three or more travelers to explore the city and wineries ($23). It also does all-day trips to Valle de la Luna (Ischigualasto) ($80) and Valle de ...
Tour Operator
San Juan, Argentina

Algarrobo Viajes Y Turismo

141602Algarroba Viajes y Turismo will take tourists out to the sights in groups for at least two persons. This operator offers the standard packages, such as a city tour that includes the Ullum and Zonda, ...
Tour Operator
San Juan, Argentina

Ivantur

Ivan Tur works with several other agencies in the city, putting together groups of at least three tourists for journeys around San Juan Province. The most popular excursion is the 15-hour jaunt to ...
Tour Operator
San Juan, Argentina

Ampora Wine Tours

The wine is the main star of Ampora Wine Tours in the Mendoza wine country of Argentina. They make sure they don´t pick wineries based on their appearance, letting the medium to top-shelf wine be ...
Tour Operator
MaipĂş, Argentina

Operadores Mendoza-Viajes

For visitors with little time to explore Mendoza, Operadores Mendoza-Viajes offers full-day excursions that take in highlights throughout the province ($15-$77). If exploring the nearby vineyards ...
Tour Operator
Mendoza, Argentina
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