The major wine-producing towns in Argentina are an essential destination for lovers of fine wine, but also offer much more for those with only a passing interest in the fruits of the vine (see city profile – Mendoza). Mendoza is perhaps the most well-known city and/or province (the city and province share the same name) as regards to the wine industry, accounting for roughly 70% of the country’s overall production.
For visitors, there are countless opportunities to visit wineries located in and around the city of Mendoza. Many agencies offer tours which take you to pre-selected bodegas (or wine houses), some offering lunch and organised tastings. For those on a budget or seeking a little more liberty, it’s possible to hire bicycles or use the local bus services in order to explore some of the lesser-known bodegas, which can also bring you into contact with more friendly family-run wineries. Larger bodegas now charge a small fee for tastings but this isn’t usually substantial and measures are typically very generous. The accompanying cuisine is excellent and there are many reputable restaurants in the city.
Cafayate, although much smaller, hosts a number of important vineyards and is famous for its geographical location, as the highest wine-producing region in Argentina and amongst the highest in the world (roughly 1,700m above sea level). Similarly, tours of the vineyards with arranged tastings are also possible here and you can also hire bicycles in the central plaza. The spectacular mountainous surrounds, in evidence in both Mendoza and Cafayate, somehow adds to the experience of tasting some of Argentina’s finest wines, making a trip to these region both essential and unforgettable.