Ever dreamed of buying a vineyard? Not a big one, just a smallish patch to call your own…to squish the grapes, baby your vines, and throw a great harvest wine dinner…at the base of snow-capped mountains, preferably, where the sun shines most of the year.
YOU ARE IN LUCK because you can buy a small vineyard at the Vines of Mendoza, nestled at the base of the Andes Mountains in Argentina. Plus, when it’s hot-as-Hades-summer here in the States, it’s fall in Argentina.
Let’s go down the “South American Way!” Can you hear the music playing, you swaying, while swilling a glass of sparkling?! I can.
“…lovely squares, wide boulevards, a colonial feel, canals…” (NYTimes), Mendoza was established in 1651 by Spanish settlers and is the fifth largest wine producing region in the world. IN THE WORLD! “Mendoza itself makes a good base for a visit with new hotels, restaurants and bars in the historic center…Just a short drive away are vineyards, adventure sports and resorts under the shadow of the Andes with wine lists that feature the best of the region.” (NY Times)
SEE THE SIGHTS
- Wander Mendoza’s plazas, including Plaza Pelligriani, where you might observe alfresco tango
- Bike around Mendoza’s Parque General San Martin’s 1,200 acres
- “Hire a Mendoza travel guide to take you fly fishing for trout in the region’s many streams.” (Travel+Leisure online 2016)
- Kayaking, mountain biking, and rafting day trips
- Ride horses
- Hike Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the western hemisphere
- And of course, tour vineyards…
- Travel+Leisure (online, 2016) recommends following:
- “Three New, Innovative Wineries:
- “Authenticity in Mendoza:”
- Domaine Bousquet (Departures 2016)–4 cottages–“beautiful and the wines were great,” according to my friends who visited last year
- Bodegas Salentein..”Located in Uco Valley, this strikingly modern winery complex…includes a lavish art museum and gift shop…” (Travel+Leisure online 2016) As reported from MTF’s on-the-ground reporters in Mendoza last year, “heard amazing things about this vineyard – from our close friends and from our private driver who took us to wineries!”
- Andeluna: Our friends did a wine pairing lunch at Andeluna and “highly recommend!”
- Vines of Mendoza–“The tasting room features about 100 producers, and it’s the only spot in the city where you can try so many in one place,” per NY Times, 2012. Town & Country (2014) also likes it. Vines of Mendoza is a co-op business owned by wine-making hobbyists (you, perhaps?), professional winemakers and chefs. You, too, can buy one of these plots below and have the joy of working your own vineyard, with or without the guidance of the on-staff professional grape growers and winemakers. A wine-collecting friend of mine just bought one and is loving it!
- Travel+Leisure (online, 2016) recommends following:
“Apparently great deals on buying wine and shipping it back to the States, too!” according to another friend who visited last year and met fellow travelers who raved about Vines of Mendoza.
EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY
- Bodega Lagarde’s restaurant, Fogon (FT‘s “How to Spend It” magazine, 2016)
- Maria Antonieta – “AMAZING!” per my friends who ate here last year. The NY Times liked it, too.
- Travel+Leisure (online, 2016) recommends:
- La Posada del Jamon–“high-end adaptations of local cuisine”
- La Bourgogne–at Carlos Pulenta Winery, “widely considered to be one of the region’s best…with mountain views to match”
- Ituzaingo Resto–“a closed-door restaurant in a private home”
- Travel+Leisure (2016) recommends:
- 1884 Francis Mallmann — Francis Mallmann is the “it” celeb chef of Argentina. “The restaurant was born as a tribute to the wines of Mendoza and the Andean cuisine, in 1996,” per its website. “The Escorihuela Winery, which houses the restaurant, was built in 1884… houses the prestigious facilities of the Bodega “Caro” that is born from the union of Chateau Laffite led by the mythical Baron, Eric de Rothschild and Catena Zapata, led by Nicolás Catena Zapata who has been in the last 25 years the leader of the wine quality of Mendoza.” Sounds impressive!
- Siete Fuegos at the Vines of Mendoza — “chef Francis Mallmann creates inspired regional dishes, showcasing Argentina’s famous beef. From our gardens and the surrounding land, we proudly bring you a natural bounty of local, seasonal ingredients paired with exceptional Argentine wines. From here, the culinary magic begins!” (per Vines of Mendoza’s website)
- Finca Adalgisa (recommended by Andrew Harper 2015 & Departures 2016): My close friends who stayed here described it as, “…a perfect oasis. We also did the cooking class there which was awesome. The hotel includes a glass of wine and an appetizer each night from 6-10 at their winery, too! It has so many secluded spots for couples to sit in…” Finca Adalgisa describes itself as a “wine hotel.” I can see why: it is surrounded by vineyards with the Andes Mountains behind them.
- La Pousada–at Carlos Pulenta winery’s Carlos Pulenta winery’s lodge, a spectacular location…at the base of the Cordon del Plata range of the Andes.” (Travel+Leisure online 2016)
- Vines Resort & Spa –This must be some-kind-of-wonderful because travel guru Andrew Harper included it in his 2016 list of top hotels in South America (Departures, 2016, Travel+Leisure and Town & Country, 2014 also like it); 22 villas built with local stone, wood and leather surrounded by 1,500 acres of vineyards..
Bonus: Yoga is available, as is a pool surrounded by vineyards. Horse back riding is an option, too, as are meals overseen by Argentina’s “it” chef.
After a morning of working your vineyard, get the kinks out with a little pond-side yoga. (photo courtesy of Vines of Mendoza)
- Finca Decero (recommended by Andrew Harper 2015)
- Casa de Uco (Mr. and Mrs. Smith recommendation 2016)
- Entre Cielos (recommended by Andrew Harper 2015 & Departures 2016 & the NY Times 2012)–11 rooms
- Travel+Leisure (2014) recommended Cavas Wine Lodge
- Domaine Bousquet (Departures 2016)–4 cottages
- AlPasion (Departures 2016)–5 rooms