With over 800 wineries across more than 150,000 hectares of vineyards, Argentina’s Mendoza Wine Region is placed amongst the biggest and most prestigious wine regions of the world. Bringing it to the forefront is its unparalleled dark and smokey Malbec grape variety. A glass of Malbec can make any occasion feel special, but there’s no better way to drink it than in the very vineyards it was produced. There are numerous wine tours in Argentina that promise this experience, but TLA can introduce you to the luxury Argentina tours that promise even more. Think of an Argentinian cooking class and wine pairing, vineyard-hopping in a vintage car, and a six-course lunch at a renowned winery restaurant. In between wineries, you may even find yourself hiking through canyons and horseback riding with gauchos. Here’s our insight on the best wine tours in Argentina.
Mendoza’s Five Distinctive Wine Regions
The Mendoza Wine Region has five sub-regions, each with its own terroir that produces unique but distinctly Argentinian fine wines. Between them, they host two DOCs, several household names, a few in-the-know boutique wineries, and some domestic cooperatives. While each of them is worth getting to know, the information below will help you distinguish how you’d like to dedicate your time.
The Maipu Valley is a flat high altitude wine region on the outskirts of the city of Mendoza with intense sunlight, cold nights, and little rainfall. As a result, it produces small and highly concentrated grapes that make for delicious densely flavored wines. It’s home to several of Argentina’s most highly prized wineries including Familia Zuccardi, Rutini and Trapiche.
Lujan de Cuyo
Home to some of the most prestigious names in Argentine wine, Lujan de Cuyo is considered to be one of the most highly regarded sub-regions of Mendoza. These names include Cantena Zapata, Bodega Septima, and Cheval des Andes. Most of Lujan de Cuyo’s wineries specialize in Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon due to the dense grapes they produce.
Uco Valley is located an hour’s drive south of Mendoza city at a higher and drier altitude than Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo. Often referred to as the ‘Napa Valley of Argentina’, its growing conditions distinguish it from the rest of the Mendoza Wine Region. Bodega Andeluna, Domaine Bousquet, and Paraje Altamira are some of its most prestigious wineries.
San Rafael is the southernmost wine region from the city of Mendoza, giving it a lower altitude that’s further from the Andes foothills. Those that reach San Rafael are rewarded with exceptional landscapes from canyons to sand dunes, as well as a charming town. The region is one of Argentina’s two DOCs and boasts names like Bodegas Bianchi, Finca Las Payas, and Leo Borsi.
Located to the east of the city of Mendoza, San Martin has a higher temperature and lower altitude than its neighbors, allowing it to make delicious Criolla Grande and Cereza wines. Rather than internationally renowned brands, San Martin is more greatly associated with cooperative-based domestic distributions, making it a particularly interesting region to visit. That said, its international profile is on the rise too.
The Best Wine Tours in Argentina
Totally Latin America organizes incredible wine tours and tour packages across all five areas of the Mendoza Wine Region to give you a full-bodied flavor of Argentinian wine. There are enriching small-group tours that allow you to raise a toast to new friends and exclusive private tours for keen wine connoisseurs that want their host’s full attention. The best kind of Argentina wine tour packages include a bit of both.
It’s worth noting that the tours only run on selected days (and not on holidays) because, after all, they are conducted by working wineries! Therefore, they’re best arranged through TLA’s travel itinerary curators who can weave them together in a seamless package.
Lujan de Cuyo Wine Tour (full day)
Not only does this luxury small group tour take you to the finest wineries of Lujan de Cuyo, but it also introduces you to the region’s velvety olive oils. The day begins with tastings at Bodegas Norton and Piatelli wineries followed by a gourmet lunch made with local ingredients at Swiss-owned boutique Finca Decero. Full and satisfied, you’ll then get an exclusive afternoon tour of an olive oil factory to see how Mendoza has become a connoisseur of this commodity too.
Uco Valley Wine Tour (full day)
Discover the aromas of high-altitude wines on a tour of the Uco Valley’s most prestigious wineries. It begins with tastings at Corazon Del Sol and Enzo Bianchi wineries, providing special insight into the process of viticulture in high altitudes. Then, you’ll move on to Andeluna Winery, said to have one of Mendoza’s best winery restaurants, for a delicious six-course lunch with wine pairings. At each of the day’s destinations, you’ll be blessed with beautiful snow-capped mountain backdrops featuring the Tupungato Volcano.
Bike & Wines Lujan de Cuyo (full day)
Allowing you to fully immerse in the wine region landscapes, ‘Sip and cycle’ has become a statement tour for all wine regions around the world. And since the mountainous Lujan de Cuyo wine region is so beautiful, it’s a particularly perfect place for a winery bike tour. It begins with a tour and tasting at Kaiken Winery before cycling to Vistalba Winery for another. From there, you’ll cycle through the vineyards to Nieto Senetiner for an exclusive guided tour and three-course lunch and wine pairing.
Flavors of Maipu (full day)
The Flavours of Maipu celebrates the origin of wine in Argentina with three prominent wineries steeped in family tradition that paved the way for viticulture in Mendoza. The first is Trapiche Winery which specializes in creating unique wines with the best terroir followed by a visit to the Sin Fin Winery. Saving the best ‘til last, the tour completes at the Familia Zuccardi Winery now run by the founder’s family members José Alberto and Sebastián Zuccardi who are said to be highly influential figures in Argentine wine.
Citroen 2CV Expedition in Lujan de Cuyo (full day)
Explore Argentina’s world-renowned wine region in style by getting behind the wheel of a charming vintage car, the Citroen 2CV. With the roof down, you’ll enjoy the sweet-smelling fresh air as you drive from the city of Mendoza to Achaval Ferrer winery in Agrelo, said to be one of the best places to grow wine in Argentina. Next, you’ll drive to Rosell Boher Lodge, a sparkling wine specialist, where you’ll have the pleasure of wining and dining in their restaurant, which was previously awarded the best restaurant worldwide in the Great Wine Capitals category.
Uco Valley Exclusive (full day)
On this private winery tour, you’ll get a deep insight into the viticulture, traditions, and terroirs of the Uco Valley’s best wineries. It begins with a tour and tasting at Giménez Riili, a family estate in its third generation of ownership. After learning how they highlight the unique conditions of each terroir in their wines, you’ll then get to dig into a four-course lunch and wine pairing at Zuccardi Piedra Infinita. The inspiring post-modern estate, built from local natural materials, sets itself apart as Mendoza’s most thought-provoking winery.
Sensorial Olive Oil Tasting & Cooking Class at Casa Cayé (full day)
This exquisite tour combines all of Mendoza’s finest things: wine, olive oil, and Argentinian cuisine at Casa Cayé, a premium olive oil specialist. You’ll be greeted with sparkling wine before getting a history and health properties of Mendoza’s olive oil from the family themselves before sampling them in a blind olive oil tasting to appreciate the aromas. Finally, you’ll get to put the olive oils to good use in your private cooking class, which will be eagerly enjoyed with delicious wine pairings afterward.
Beyond the vineyards
Non-wine activities in Mendoza
Mendoza holds even more magic beyond the vineyards. The region, set at the foot of the Andes Mountains and the vast steppes of Argentina, is awash with stunning landscapes offering great adventure and deep respite like these:
- Horseback riding
- Whitewater rafting
- Mendoza city tour
- Cacheuta thermal springs
- Spa treatments
Staying in the Mendoza Wine Region
The accommodations in the Mendoza Wine Region are just as luxurious as its wines. From regal city stays to chic countryside retreats, there’s something to suit every discerning traveler. For the fully submersed Mendoza Wine Region experience, it’s even possible to stay in a villa hidden amongst the vines of a top winery estate.
Add a Wine Tour of Argentina Package to your Itinerary
Speak to one of our vacation curators today to learn more about the stays and experiences you could have on your wine tour of Argentina. With your input, we will create a bespoke itinerary packed with the very best wine tours in the region that match your refined taste. Speak to us today toll-free on +1 855 217 9045 or send us a message. Want to go one step further? Check out our article on the Chilean wine regions.