Argentina wine country

Argentina's vineyard at summer. Photo: Shutterstock
Argentina's vineyard at summer. Photo: Shutterstock

From rich reds to crisp whites, it may be worth visiting one of the many wine regions of Argentina just to enjoy a glass (or two) of South American home-made. Wineries are in abundance here and with wine tourism rising in popularity, more tourists are adding winery tours or vineyard visits to their itineraries. There are many varieties of wine to choose from which differ in flavour from region to region, meaning there's something for all acquired tastes to enjoy.

Read on for our up-close look at Argentina's fabulous wine culture.

Close to perfect conditions

Argentina’s diverse and rich landscape provides the perfect foundations for producing high-quality wine. Due to its warm climate and low humidity, many Argentine vineyards are often able to harvest their grapes with little to no pesticides, resulting in a more organic final product.

Medieval methods

Some of the most popular provinces to visit for wine in Argentina are La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta and San Juan. In La Rioja, tourists may choose to visit the medieval town of Laguardia to sample the local wine. Laguardia in particular has an underground network of caves that are still used today to produce or store wine.

El Fabulista is a traditional cave-winery in which the grapes are still pressed by foot, making for a more traditional winemaking experience. The most well-known wines produced here are made from the Torrentés or Moscatel de Alexandrias grape variety.

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Mendoza highlights

Mendoza is far and away a standout wine region in Argentina, and its beautiful scenery provides a stunning backdrop for wine lovers to test out some delicious flavours. In this area, the three main regions are Lujan de Cuyo, Valle de Uco and Maipú – all of which play host to a number of differentiating wineries. For example, in the Uco valley, tourists can visit Salentein, an architectural wonder with barrel rooms now used as a location for concerts and special events.

Another major winery in Mendoza is the Trapiche Winery, situated in the small town of Maipú. The winery is set within a Florentine style building and is the ideal location to learn more about traditional and modern methods of producing wine. Trapiche was one of the first Argentine wineries to export their wine, and have maintained a strong reputation for producing high-quality batches. The most famous wines to taste here are red Malbec wines, which are usually full-bodied and fruity.

Off the beaten track

In the mountainous region of Salta, many wineries produce Argentina’s flagship white wine, Torrontés. And while it may be a lesser-known wine region, Salta offers an authentic tourist experience as many traditional wineries here provide the opportunity to stay overnight surrounded by vineyards. Colomé is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina and is also one of the highest vineyards in the world. Since 1831 premium wines have been produced here, and the winery offers beautiful accommodation for visitors that include breathtaking views over the Calchaqués Valley. The best wines to try here are red Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, both intensely flavoured wines.

Bursting with flavour

San Juan is the second-biggest region for wine-making with over 47,000 planted hectares. It harvests a wide array of grapes, producing varied wines from young and fruity to intense and deep. The most popular red wines here are Malbec and Tannat, while the most popular white wines are Chardonnay and Chenin. The most distinctive features of San Juan wines are sweetness and incredible fruity flavours.

When to visit

The growing and harvesting seasons in Argentina vary from province to province as climate conditions can affect the time it takes. In Mendoza, the harvest season usually runs from February to April. During this time, the National Grape Harvest Festival takes place and is essentially Argentina’s biggest wine party. Tourists and wine-lovers may enjoy visiting the area as the harvest is a social occasion, which usually involves performers and live music.

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