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Shortly after Nicolas Catena launched Mendoza’s first fine Malbec wine in 1994, Mendoza quickly became known as the land of the Malbec. The name is well-earned, as this variety thrives in the desert-like conditions in Mendoza. The wine industry continues to grow and wineries are now producing a growing number of quality blends and single variety Malbecs, Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and others.

Any visit to Mendoza should include a tour of at least one bodega; however, an afternoon spent cycling Coquimbito’s wine road takes visitors to as many as eight wineries, including mega-producer Trapiche, boutique winemaker Carinae, and the historic La Rural Winery. True wine lovers may opt to trade the budget-oriented tour in Coquimbito for a day trip to either Lujan de Cuyo’s Agrelo district or continue further south to Valle de Uco. Both zones produce some of Mendoza’s best wines, and the bodegas are modern facilities with architectural flair and unobstructed views of the nearby Andes.

The Andes, which stand out on the western horizon from any vantage point throughout the province, are often considered a secondary attraction to this wine-heavy destination, but adventure activities and sightseeing opportunities abound. Potrerillos and Uspallata provide easy access to white-water rafting thrills, while the latter is also known for its horseback riding opportunities. Further up into the Andes, along the Ruta Internacional 7 that runs to Santiago, Chile, the highlights continue to grow in size and history.

Cerro Aconcagua, known as the roof of the Americas, is easily spotted during an Alta Montaña tour, but the adventurous can try scaling its 6,962-meter summit from January to March. Further down the road, Puente del Inca shows off its natural bridge formation above the Rio Las Cuevas along with its Inca-era history.

The fun continues throughout the winter, as skiers and snowboarders can choose between two resorts; Los Penitentes is located close to the city, while the world-renowned Las Leñas resort is located five hours to the south.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Mendoza: Safety,

09 Sep 2010

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