First-hand experiences to help design your own delightful wine trip.

Mendoza, a captivating province in western Argentina, enthralls visitors with its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and world-famous wine production. Nestled at the foothills of the majestic Andes Mountains, the region’s fertile valleys and arid plains create a perfect blend for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Its capital city, Mendoza, showcases a mix of modern architecture and colonial-era buildings, offering a vibrant urban experience. 

The region is huge and the number of wine cellars immeasurable (around 1500!). Even though Malbec vines are the flagship of this territory, you can expect a full variety of grapevines (Cabernet, Bonarda, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Torrontés and more) that will spur your palate and make you want to stay longer. We wanted to taste for ourselves, get lost and found in the valleys of Mendoza, and discover some of its divine jewels, to be able to advise you personally on your unique wine lover route. 

Our journey was kind of planned; we had some ideas of where we wanted to go, some colleagues we wanted to visit, but traveling always has room for spontaneity, and we ended up at some unexpected amazing locales. Oscar Favaro, our knowledgeable and charismatic escort, had a lot to do with that, a reminder that local guidance is always a plus and must be a signature on all our journeys. We’ll tell you some short stories of the places visited and that which caught our attention the most; kind of a wine tasting for you to savor, just to see what best matches your tongue. 

Let’s start with the city. Mendoza is an attractive urban center with great nightlife, many good restaurants, arts, culture and historical spots. One of our guide’s suggestions was to have breakfast in República, one of famous oenologist Alejandro Vigil’s creations, – you’ll read more about him later -, and it was a very much enjoyable stop. Another great recommendation was our dinner at the restaurant Patio de Jesus Maria, with perfect Argentinian food and a great place to meet with locals. Nightlife in Arístides Avenue is vibrant and filled with opportunities to have fun, enjoy drinks, eat delicious food and go dancing. An insider tip: give wines a break and try the crafted beer at Chachingo!

If you have the chance, staying in the city is totally worth it, and a practical way to come and go to Maipu, one of the three valleys of the wine region. The other regions are Lujan de Cuyo, which is also accessible from the city, and Valle de Uco, the farthest but home to the most exclusive wineries. In terms of distance the routes can be long, so when planning yours we’ll try to optimize your trip by moving through different sectors. All of them offer impeccable accommodation options. Obviously the forte is wine, between wineries, restaurants/wineries and wine-hotels, but the possibility of doing something in the mountains, rafting in Potrerillos or horseback riding is also available to enjoy the beautiful geography of the Andean valleys. So it’s your call.

Our field journey

No particular order in this selection of treasures in Mendoza. We were up to the task and would travel the distances with pleasure just to check them out, try them, feel them, enjoy them, and be able to share first hand experiences with our interested travelers! 

We wouldn’t skip the visit to Bodega Cobos, a world-renowned winery that offers exclusive and sophisticated experiences for wine lovers. We could see how this boutique vineyard produces some of the most exceptional wines in the region, crafted with care and passion by expert winemakers. They are proud to provide small, intimate experiences that allow you to savor its wines in a luxurious and elegant setting. From private tastings to guided tours of the vineyard, each visit is tailored to your preferences and designed to offer you a high level, passionate and interesting journey through the world of wine.

Casa de Uco is an incredible wine resort. Rising from its own vineyards, the glass and steel house unfolds against the spectacular Andes. All the experiences are wine-infused, and they also offer exciting outdoor and cultural activities. Here you have plenty of opportunities to relax by the pool, in your abode, or somewhere between the vines. Luxury, sustainability and passion for the land compound its magic atmosphere, and of course, the food is more than great. 

Locals will always have stories to tell, and when it comes to wines in Mendoza, amidst hundreds of wineries, finding a hidden gem is solid gold. This is how our extraordinary driver introduced us to Piedra Negra: a wine cellar in the breathtaking landscapes of Tunuyan that invites you to step into the world of Francois Lurton. Nature’s harmony and winemaking expertise unite here to craft exceptional organic wines. We saw how Piedra Negra embraces a sustainable approach, from the moment the grapes are nurtured in organic soils to the gentle pressing and aging process. Every step is committed to preserving the natural balance of the land. Luscious Malbecs and crisp Chardonnays, the house’s organic wine collection captivates with vibrant flavors and unique expressions of the local terroir

Entre Cielos is a wine hotel and spa, whose name means “between skies”. We understood the name when entering the rooms with wide windows looking at the hotel´s beautiful vines. Villas and cabins are totally inserted into the vineyard, while offering a tremendous sense of privacy. And there’s the Loft Suit, a special room that stands above the vineyard on stilts, like a protective cocoon open to the infinite starry nights! The wellness service is the hotel’s strongest, you need to experience its award-winning Hammam and Spa. This is a gorgeous place to delve into pleasure, rest, and perhaps make it your base from where you can move and visit your chosen spots.

Here comes again Alejandro Vigil and his story. He is a winemaker of Catena Zapata and creator of the famous wine El Enemigo. El Enemigo was born when Alejandro and Adrianna Catena, the youngest daughter of Nicolás Catena, decided to create the Aleanna winery to rescue some of the forgotten traditional techniques of Argentine winemaking. The ultimate goal, according to Alejandro, was to obtain a wine with minimal intervention, a “transparent” wine where the winemaker’s hand leaves no trace but instead serves to interpret the particularities of each terroir. Then he created with his family Casa Vigil, a beautiful winery that invites you to experience the charm of wine, gastronomy and literature fused into a unique wine tourism proposal. It is quite an interesting experience where the driving axis is Dante’s Divine Comedy. A food and wine tasting path that takes you through art, flavors and sensations along hell, purgatory and heaven! The areas are just incredible settings, the open kitchen totally inspiring. The place and the experience is moving in so many ways. 

We were simply astonished in Alfa Crux, a captivating jewel where we could witness the perfect fusion of exceptional wines and exquisite cuisine in an enchanting scenery that showcases the essence of Argentine architecture and hospitality. Agustina Lolago, our extraordinary hostess, took us through the day’s agenda: exploring the meticulously maintained vineyards, watching the winemaking process firsthand, and indulging in wine tastings that included the diverse flavors of the region. Then there’s also Crux Cocina, the epicurean adventure where talented chefs craft delectable dishes using locally sourced ingredients. From traditional Argentine classics to innovative culinary creations, each dish is a celebration of the region’s rich gastronomic heritage. Definitely a great decision to visit Alfa Crux. 

We found another architectural marvel at Piedra Infinita by Zuccardi. With its astounding foundational stone in the center, and a blend of modern design and natural elements, this cellar and restaurant represents a feast for the senses. We took an unforgettable wine and gastronomy journey witnessing the rigorous aging process and the secrets behind the creation of their impressive wines. Its wide range of wines and its delicious gastronomic proposal make it a great place to visit and leave with your stomach and your hands full. 

An amazing hotel, spa, winery, restaurant project was born in Mendoza as a collective adventure where private owners could have their own wines and share them with the world. The Vines Resort & Spa delivers exquisite suites, world-class facilities, and exclusive access to private vineyards, where we could witness the artistry of winemaking firsthand. Designed for people who would like to have long stays, because it offers so much comfort and variety of experiences. For example, the restaurant Siete Fuegos, by celebrity chef Francis Mallmann, holds an incredible grill night where a group sits on the table to try succulent dishes cooked in seven different fire techniques! Fire, meats, empanadas, wine… You don’t want to leave anytime soon. 

Our guide took us to other unexpected and interesting places to add to the accommodation catalog in Mendoza. Salentein is a wine cellar and posada where you can easily connect with the simple charm of nature and rest upon the coziness of a warm house that expresses the traditional architecture of the Mendoza ranches among gardens, vineyards, fruit trees and orchards. Another new discovery was Casa Septem, a family-owned retreat that promises an unparalleled experience of authenticity and tranquility. As we entered this meticulously designed mansion, we stepped into a world of elegance, where every detail exuded sophistication and charm. The enchanting ambiance of the surrounding vineyards and the majestic Andes Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop.

From the moment we stepped through its doors, we were captivated by the warmth and authenticity that permeates every corner of this Tuscan-style property. Casa Agostino is a winery perfectly integrated with the house with a very nice terrace, a tasting room, a shop and a great restaurant. The unpretentious spaces make you feel welcome and relaxed, and its Italian kind of charm is hypnotizing. Just as the wines, which we learned, are made in a less structured and more intuitive way; the way they result is the way you drink and enjoy them. Beautiful experience from start to finish with our graceful host Mariana Encina.

Last but definitely not least, the place that made us want to stay longer or come back for sure. The Cavas Wine Lodge, which is part of Relais & Chateau. They received us in the best way possible, everyone knew we were going to arrive and were waiting for us with a wet towel and a glass of wine. Attention to detail is their signature. We were astonished by the unparalleled comfort and rustic elegance of its 18 spacious villas, each individually designed and boasting private plunge pools and terraces with breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards. The property has a timeless style, spacious with a unique personality, some super well-balanced elements and designs integrated with the landscape. The spa is amazing, the cuisine is top quality and the location perfect to go visit other wineries and attractions. An impeccable place as it should be.

And so this is us sharing the notes of our field journey to Mendoza, hopefully they will light up your curiosity and water your mouth for those precious wines. Hotels are so awesome that you want to stay and enjoy them for a couple of days; each cellar has its own magic in which you want to get lost. There are plenty of options for every kind of traveler and a whole wine world to be uncovered in this stunning Andean territory.

How to get there

To get to Mendoza, Argentina, you have several transportation options, including air travel, bus, and car. Here are some suggestions, but you can also tell us where you are and we’ll guide you through.

By air: The most convenient way to reach Mendoza is by flying to the Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport, commonly known as El Plumerillo Airport (MDZ). Several domestic and international airlines operate flights to Mendoza from major cities in Argentina and nearby countries. 

By road: If you prefer road trips, you can reach Mendoza by car from various locations. The city is connected to the Argentinean road network, and the major highways are National Route 7 (Ruta Nacional 7) from Buenos Aires and National Route 40 (Ruta Nacional 40) from the north. 

Journey times and routes will depend on your starting point, so we’ll help you plan each day to optimize every second.

When to go

The best time to visit Mendoza and its surrounding valleys largely depends on your preferences and the activities you would like to engage in. Here’s a hint of what different seasons have to offer, so you can decide.

Mendoza during Spring (September to November): 

It is considered an excellent time to visit Mendoza and the valleys. The weather is pleasant, with mild temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). The vineyards are lush and green, and you will witness the start of the grape harvest season. It’s a great time for outdoor activities like wine tasting, hiking, and horseback riding.

Mendoza during Summer (December to February):

It can be quite hot, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F) and occasionally higher. It is the peak tourist season due to summer holidays, when many festivals, events, and outdoor activities take place. It’s an ideal time for exploring the vineyards, enjoying outdoor adventures, and experiencing Mendoza’s vibrant atmosphere.

Mendoza during Autumn (March to May):

Another excellent season to visit Mendoza. The weather starts to cool down, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F). The vineyards display stunning colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque landscape. It’s also the harvest season, so you’ll probably witness wineries in full swing. 

Mendoza during Winter (June to August): 

Winter brings cooler temperatures, ranging from 0°C to 15°C (32°F to 59°F). While it’s not as popular as the other seasons, winter has its charm. The snow-capped Andes Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop, and you can engage in activities like skiing and snowboarding in the nearby resorts. It’s a quieter time with fewer tourists, making it a good option if you are seeking a more tranquil experience.

Keep in mind the Main regions of Mendoza

As we have mentioned, Mendoza is a vast territory filled with wineries and accommodation options. It’s important to plan the trip taking that into account so you can optimize your time. We’ll help you avoid long transfer hours each day by choosing hotels and activities so you are able to deeply enjoy each experience and also have a relaxing stay. Here are some recommendations in each of the three valleys of Mendoza. 

Maipú

Maipú, one of the oldest wine regions in Mendoza and with a long winemaking tradition, is located close to the city of Mendoza. It offers a diverse range of wineries, from large-scale operations to smaller boutique producers, where you can find a variety of grape varietals, including Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. 

Distance: 15 minutes from Mendoza Center.

Best Wineries in Maipú:

Casa Vigil – El Enemigo, Finca Agostino, Tempus Alba, Trapiche, Familia Zuccardi, Lopez, Flichman and Carinae.

Luján de Cuyo

Luján de Cuyo is recognized as one of the most prestigious wine regions in Mendoza, especially for producing excellent Malbec wines. Many renowned wineries are located in this valley. Its high elevation and favorable climate contribute to the production of rich, full-bodied red wines.

Distance: 30 minutes from Mendoza Center.

Best Wineries in Luján de Cuyo:

Viña Cobos, Catena Zapata, Bressia, Achaval Ferrer, Sottano, Clos de Chacras, Viamonte, Riccitelli, Chandon, Vistalba, Kaiken, Lagarde, Durigutti, Decero, Norton, Susana Balbo, Nieto Senetiner and Quimera.

Valle de Uco:

In recent years, Valle de Uco has emerged as a significant wine region. Located to the south of Mendoza city, it is known for its high-altitude vineyards and cool climate. Characterized by its scenic landscapes and vineyards nestled against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains, (also known as Cordón del Plata), the Uco Valley produces a wide variety of wines, including Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay. 

Distance: 75 minutes from Mendoza Center.

Best Wineries in Uco Valley:

Alfa Crux, Casa de Uco, Piedra Infinita by Zuccardi, Gimenez Riili, Bianchi, Clos de los Siete, Andeluna, Salentein, Piedra Negra, La Azul, Corazón del Sol, Rutini, Casa Petrini, Jean Bousquets, Altus de Gualtallary, Domaine Bousquet, Atamisque, SuperUco.

What to eat in Mendoza?

Some of the finest wineries have developed mouth-watering culinary pairings with traditional dishes and culinary experiences to join their best wines. Mendoza’s gastronomy is a delightful journey through Argentina’s vibrant food culture, adding depth to your sensorial experience in this enchanting region. Along your trip you can indulge in mouthwatering barbecues (asado), savory empanadas, and traditional Argentine stew (locro). For sweet cravings try dulce de leche treats, alfajores, and artisanal ice creams. You’ll easily find chimichurri, salteñas, and an abundance of fresh fruits. Explore Mendoza’s craft beers and high-quality olive oils. 

Atelier’s tips

How much time should you spend in Mendoza?

No less than a three-night stay is advisable to have a general outlook of Mendoza and its more important wine regions. Consider additional nights for soft adventure activities in the surroundings or for a ski escapade to Las Leñas Resort (between June to September).

Don’t skip Mendoza city Downtown

Take enough time to enjoy the city of Mendoza, it has a lot to offer in terms of gastronomy and nightlife. Don’t miss a night walk around Arístides Avenue! For a fantastic stay, the Park Hyatt offers a strategic location in front Plaza de la Independencia. Urban lovers can use this location as headquarters to visit nearby attractions and wineries.

Avoid Driving

We are not fans of self-driving, especially when someone has to be a designated driver. Having a private vehicle and driver is a great option to move through the wineries and valleys. Biking and even classic cars are also available options. If you can include a guide specialized in wine routes and local culture, it is totally worth it.

Less is More

Even if you want to see everything, don’t load yourself with too many visits so you can really enjoy each place, especially if staying in iconic properties such as Casa de Uco, Entre Cielos, The Vines and Cavas Wine Lodge; these properties also offer unique activities to make the most of your trip.

Enjoy Tastings

Avoid massive tastings, you don’t want to get drunk every day and forget the subtle flavors of each experience. We believe 2 or 3 premium tastings a day could be an ideal number, keeping in mind the distances between wineries and valleys. Besides the world-famous brands, also try the local boutique producers.

Create your own Blend

Creating your own blend wine in Mendoza is an extraordinary experience that allows you to become a winemaker for a day. Wineries in Mendoza offer unique opportunities for visitors to participate in blending sessions, where you can select and combine different grape varieties to craft your personalized wine. Guided by expert winemakers, you’ll learn about the characteristics of each grape and experiment with various proportions to achieve your desired taste profile. After the blending process, your custom wine will be bottled and labeled, making it a memorable keepsake and a unique expression of your journey through Mendoza’s wine culture.

Vendimia Festival in Mendoza

The Vendimia Festival is a dazzling celebration of the grape harvest, taking place during the enchanting season of late summer (the last week of February and the first week of March). With vibrant parades, captivating performances, and wine-themed festivities, it honors the region’s winemaking heritage in a spectacle of music, dance, and culture. A must-see event for wine lovers and culture enthusiasts.

Visiting Mendoza with Kids.

Some hotels and wineries may have special policies about children; choose family-friendly options with designated activities and special areas. Engage in interactive experiences, and balance winery visits with other family-friendly activities. Don’t forget to pack some entertainment and snacks, a flexible schedule will always be prudent. If time permits, assign one single day of outdoor experiences for older kids: white-water rafting, mountain hiking, biking, horseback riding, and much more.

Ready for soccer

Immerse yourself in the exhilarating world of soccer by attending a match at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, home to the beloved Godoy Cruz team. Feel the palpable energy as the passionate local fans fill the stadium with their chants and cheers, creating an electric atmosphere.

Ready to start making your Mendoza trip a reality? Get in touch with our travel specialists at Atelier to tailor-make a magical, bespoke journey for you.

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