With so many wineries in Mendoza, picking which ones to visit isn’t easy. These are spread across three main regions – Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley, each of them having its charm.
The province of Mendoza is the biggest wine producer in Argentina (the other one is Cafayate, in the Salta Province), and one of the biggest in South America. The combination of excellent soil, favorable weather conditions and the know-how of the people who moved to the region in the late 19th century contributed to the growth of the vineyards and to the development of the wine industry.
With that came wine tourism: people from Argentina and the world regularly include Mendoza in their Argentina itinerary to enjoy its natural beauty and especially to taste the incredible wines.
I visited Mendoza twice – that’s how much I love it. If good wine is what you want, you are going to find it in Mendoza. In fact, Mendoza wine is simply fantastic (I have a soft spot for Malbec, I admit it), and there are a lot of vineyards in Mendoza where you can try it – each of them offering a different kind of experience.
In this post, I will highlight my favorite wineries in Mendoza, with information on the kind of experience you can expect to have there. However, before I get to the juicy bits, let me give you some background information about Mendoza.
There’s More Than Just Wineries In Mendoza
Most people visit Mendoza to taste all the fabulous Mendoza wine and spend very little time there – some stay no longer than 36 hours in Mendoza. I won’t deny that they have a point about the wine. However, Mendoza has a lot more to offer, and if you only spend enough time there you will realize that wine is only part of the fun in this part of Argentina.
Founded in 1561, this is one of the largest cities in Argentina with a population of roughly 2 million people. It is a university town, which means that the overall vibe is that of a young city, easygoing and not in the least pretentious. It’s the kind of place where, during the summer months, you’ll find people sitting at cafés and bars, enjoying a glass of wine (or craft beer, an ever growing trend) and having a chat with friends.
The city has a few very good museums and art galleries – not necessarily in the city center, actually. If you have time to visit just one, make sure to go to the Museo de Bellas Artes – known as Casa de Fader. It’s located in a beautiful mansion and the exhibit is fantastic.
At the weekend, locals join the many tourists in visiting the best wineries in Mendoza, where they get to taste wine, bike around, or have a fabulous meal. Otherwise, they go explore the magnificent surroundings.
Indeed, the province of Mendoza is fantastic for nature lovers. It’s where the highest peak of the Andes (in fact, of South America), Cerro Aconcagua, is located. It’s home of rivers where you can have a blast rafting and canyons where you can zip line or just enjoy the landscape. Here you can relax at a natural spa; eat a proper Argentine asado; go horseback riding and much more.
Make sure to read my post A Guide To The Most Fun Things To Do In Mendoza, Argentina.
13 Wineries In Mendoza That You Absolutely Have To Visit
There are so many wineries in Mendoza that picking which one to visit is easier said than done. Most visitors try to squeeze at least two or three winery visits in a day, and spend no more than 2 full days in Mendoza. It’s a pity, because Mendoza vineyards (or bodegas, as they are known locally) all differ one from the other, and the experience you end up having in each is different.
Some wineries are large and stylish, and their wines are exported overseas. Others are smaller, and the production very limited, with no distribution to the market (local or international): the only place to buy a bottle is the vineyard itself.
If you are tight on time and want to make the most of your trip to Mendoza, squeezing in as many wineries as you can possibly visit in one day, a guided tour may be a good option. It will end up being more expensive, but it’s definitely more efficient in terms of transportation and organization.
For a wine tasting tour by bike, click here.
You can try to keep the costs of your time in Mendoza by doing a self guided wine tour. The best area to do it is Maipu, where you can rent bikes and then head to the vineyards yourself. Mr Hugo Bikes is a good place to get a bike, and you’ll be given a map and tips on which wineries to visit at a discounted rate.
If you are a real wine lover and committed to wine tasting, give yourself at least three full days to explore Mendoza wineries, and an extra day or two to get out of the city to hike or just enjoy nature. Stick to one or at most two winery visits per day, and pick the activities for the rest of the day wisely. For example, a cooking class is a perfect way to accompany a wine tasting tour!
Continue reading to discover the nicest wineries in Mendoza.
Best wineries in Maipú
Bodega Familia Zuccardi
Zuccardi is one of those wineries where you can have a full experience, with so many on site activities to keep you entertained for a full day.
Familia Zuccardi is a bodega located in Maipú, right outside Mendoza. It is one of the largest and best known wineries in Mendoza, and Sebastian Zuccardi has been recognized as one of the top wine makers in Argentina.
At Familia Zuccardi, you can spend a full day biking around the vineyard; learning about the process of wine making; and tasting wine. Familia Zuccardi also has its olive grove – so you can also taste some high quality olive oil. They also run cooking classes. Needless to say, the wine is fantastic – make sure to buy a few bottles in the incredibly stylish on site shop.
There’s also a restaurant where you can have lunch. If you are brave enough, go for the 7 courses meal which will get you a taste of empanadas, salads, lots of vegetables, a proper asado with 4 different kinds of meat (from chorizo to beef to lamb and pork), and a mouthwatering desert. Needless to say, the meal is accompanied by a selection of the best Mendoza wine.
Trapiche wines can be found all over the world, so visiting this vineyard is a bit like going home, and finally discovering where the fantastic wine you’ve been sipping for years comes from.
Trapiche is the producer of some award winning wines. This bodega is located in Maipú, where it was established in 1883 – thus being one of the first in Mendoza. The building – which dates back to the early 20th century – didn’t initially belong to the vineyard. It was sold in 1970 and then abandoned, to be finally acquired by Trapiche in 2006 with the aim of restoring it and bringing it back to its full glory.
Trapiche offers one of the most interesting Mendoza wine tours. Not only you get to taste the world-class wines, but you also visit a historic establishment and get to peep into the barrel room.
Bodega Tempus Alba
Tempus Alba is a stylish and modern winery can be easily visited on a wine and bike tour (it’s on the map that Mr Hugo Bikes hands out to its customers). The winery is beautifully located, with gorgeous views of the vineyards that you can enjoy throughout lunch. You can opt to join a guided tour or to walk around the vineyard and olive groves by yourself, following the plaques.
The on-site restaurant serves good food. If you visit in the good season, get a table on the terrace for gorgeous views of the vineyards.
Bodega Lopez is one of the five biggest wineries in Mendoza, and it’s the perfect place to observe the production of wine on a very large scale. The fermentation tanks, the barrels, and even the bottling plant here are much bigger than in other wineries.
The bodega is located in Maipú. Here, tours and tasting are actually free – which is always a bonus. You get to taste two wines. The on site restaurant is a perfect place to take wine tasting to a better level – accompanying it with delicious food.
Bodega La Rural
This is a strictly local winery – its wine is only consumed locally.
Very few wineries in Mendoza don’t export their products. Bodega La Rural is one of them, and when you visit you get to taste wines that you wouldn’t find at the shops or restaurants at home. That’s a major bonus point, if you ask me.
This winery also has a small Museum of Wine filled with wine production antiques. The winery belongs to the Rutini family and has an incredible collection of instruments that were used to make wine towards the end of the 19th century. The guide typically explains how these instruments were used and the method of wine production, and you obviously get to taste the excellent wines.
Best wineries in Luján de Cuyo
Bodega Catena Zapata
Aside from the fantastic wines, you will love the funky main building which is in the shape of a Mayan pyramid.
Catena Zapata winery is located in Luján de Cuyo. It was founded in 1902, when Nicola Catena, who arrived in Argentina from Italy, planted his first Malbec vineyard. Until then, Malbec grapes had been used to blend Bourdeaux wine, but Nicola Catena saw the full potential for turning it into a great wine in and of itself – the fabulous Malbec wine.
Since 1902, the winery grew so much to become one of the largest in the region, and wine-making knowledge has been passed on to newer generations. In the 1960s, a huge economic crunch that affected Argentina had its adverse effect on this fantastic winery, which however survived also throughout the difficult years of the dictatorship and the war against the United Kingdom and continued to produce excellent wines.
Make sure to try the fantastic Nicolas Catena Zapata wine.
Bodega Luigi Bosca
Luigi Bosca is probably one of the priciest wineries in Mendoza. Yet, it is worth a visit. You get to taste 4 different wines, under the guidance of some excellent guides who not only speak perfect English but who really do answer any possible question you may have.
At the end of the tour you can visit an art installation of 14 pieces, the “Via Crucis del Vino” (“Wine Way of the Cross”), by artist Hugo Leytes. It took him almost a year to complete each piece, and once you see them in sequence you get a full idea of the process of wine making, and you can finally see the parallelism with the life and death of Jesus Christ.
Bodega Ruca Malen
This incredible vineyard won the 2014 prize for best wine tourism in the world, especially thanks to the restaurant which is by far the best among all the vineyards restaurants you can hope to visit.
The menu is updated every 3 months, so that it is strictly seasonal, and each time it is put together to be paired with 5 specific wines – so each meal you may have is a combination of excellent food with the perfect wine pairing. It is a fixed menu of 5 different courses, and you’ll love it.
If the weather is nice, you can sit outside and admire the view of the vineyard and the mountains as you eat your lunch.
The guided tour through the winery is very good – exhaustive, interesting with plenty of details about wine production, about the history of the winery, etc. There even is a blending class (I did one in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and can promise you it is a lot of fun).
Curious to find out about South African wines? Head to my post Seven Amazing Estates To Do Wine Tasting In Stellenbosch.
Bodega Terrazas de los Andes
This winery has the most breathtaking views. And there is a hotel where you can sleep to take in more of those views.
Located in Luján de Cuyo, Terrazas de los Andes’ name is due to the terraces on which the various kinds of grapes are grown, at different altitudes.
The buildings (including the tank room), the hotel and the surrounding landscape at this bodega are simply stunning. They are located next to an old bodega that dates back to 1898, and they are all beautifully kept despite the devastating earthquake that hit the area a century ago.
The guide selects the wines that you get to taste based on your actual preferences, so the experience is even better.
Bodega Clos the Chacras
Clos de Chacras is located in the lovely quaint town of Chacras the Coria, very close to Mendoza. It is a boutique winery whose main building dates back to the 1920s and has been nicely restored, so the feeling you get upon walking in is that of old style charm.
The tour goes through the working winery and at the end of it you get a tasting of various wines, which are served with cheese. There is a restaurant where you can have lunch or dinner, or if you just want to relax at the end of the day, you can sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine.
Bodegas y Viñedos Doña Juanita
Doña Juanita is one of the smallest wineries in Mendoza, and a strictly family run business – so small that wine is literally only sold to the people who visit the winery. The small scale production here is synonym with excellent quality.
As opposed to other bigger wineries where a guide does the tour, in this case you get the actual owner of the winery showing you around his place – and since he speaks no English, someone will have to act as interpreter.
When Federico (that’s the name of the owner) shares stories about the wine and details about wine production, and as he tastes wine with his guests, you can see the passion he puts in what he does.
At the end of the tour, you can opt to hang around for dinner. In this case, it truly is a home made asado – all the better for a local experience.
Best wineries in Uco Valley
Bodega Andeluna Cellars
Bodega Andeluna Cellars is located in Uco Valley and it’s one of the most pleasant wineries in the region. It’s a truly gorgeous place, where you’ll get to enjoy a warm welcoming, a very good tour run by a knowledgeable guide, and an excellent wine tasting menu where you can pick the kind of wine and even the number of samples you want to taste.
The tasting is done in a beautiful room, sitting on comfortable couches; and you can hang around as long as you want after the tour. There even is an outside porch where you can sit to admire the views – unless you want to go for a walk in the vineyard.
Bodega Salentin is one of the largest wineries in Mendoza, with a wine cellar that holds 5000 barrels. Located in the Uco Valley, this bodega is simply gorgeous. The ground floor has a mosaic of the rose of the winds, which represents the intention of Bodega Salentin to export its wines throughout the world. If you happen to actually get to the center of the mosaic, pay attention to the acoustic: it’s fantastic, to the point that concerts are regularly held here.
The tasting is led by a guide that will point all the main characteristics of the wine – the color, the aroma, the taste.
Make sure to get to the cellar early enough to also get to visit the Killka Gallery. It was opened in 2006 and it has an exhibit of contemporary Argentinian artists, as well as dutch paintings from the 19th and 20th century.
When to visit Mendoza wineries
Mendoza is a great place to visit year-round, as it is mostly sunny. Go between October and April, between spring and early fall, when everything is either in full bloom or incredibly green. Summer months in Mendoza tend to be hot, so if you are going then just be prepared.
How To Get To The Wineries In Mendoza
I am a massive fan of road trips, which is why if I am not traveling solo I always end up renting a car (my sister and I did that in South Africa and had a blast). If you have a car you can pick only the wineries you want to visit; and stay there for however long you want. The other side of the coin is that you’ll have to make sure to limit yourself with the wine tasting, for obvious reasons.
If you are considering renting a car for your Mendoza wine tours, click here to compare car rental prices.
Out of three main wine regions in Mendoza, only Maipú and Luján de Cuyo can be biked. You have to take the bus to get there (it’s fairly easy and inexpensive) and then rent a bike, either at Mr Hugo’s Bike Rentals in Maipú or at Baccus in Chacras de Coria, in Luján de Cuyo. Biking to the wineries is a fun thing to do, safe and easy. Bike rentals will give you a map and recommendations of the wineries you can reach, as well as discount codes for the wine tasting.
Alternatively, you can just join a guided bike tour that departs from Mendoza.
On a private tour
If you don’t want to have the responsibility of driving, yet like the idea of going at your own pace, you may want to hire a driver and go on a customized tour. It surely ends up being more expensive than a group tour, but if there’s a few of you sharing the car, it won’t be nearly as bad as you imagine. You will be picked up by a driver directly at your hotel and won’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying the wine.
On a small guided group tour
Small guided group tours are a great way to experience what the region has to offer, and they are much cheaper than private tours. Unfortunately, the itinerary is set – but you will be in good company, you won’t have to worry about driving, you’ll be picked up and taken back to your hotel and, most importantly, you’ll still get to taste some excellent Mendoza wine.
For a wine tasting tour by bike, click here.
By hop-on hop-off bus
The hop-on hop-off bus is a great way of visiting sthe wineries. Depending on the day of the week, the bus goes to a different wine region.
Tips For The Perfect Wine Tasting In Mendoza
With so many wineries, deciding which one to visit can be overwhelming – that’s why I selected a few for each region, in an effort to help you pick the best.
Whichever way you decide to do your wine tasting in Mendoza (on a guided tour, by bike, or driving yourself), make sure to plan it in advance. If you do it independently, do call the vineyard or send them an email for a reservation.
Most vineyards open at 10:00 am, and virtually all of them have a restaurant. I recommend visiting one in the morning, hanging around for lunch so that you can continue enjoying the wine along with delicious food; and then moving on to another winery.
More than anything else, unless you are taking a guided tour I don’t recommend visiting more than two wineries in a day. Wine tours take time to be fully enjoyed, and the last thing you should do is rushing while tasting wine!
Where To Stay In Mendoza
Mendoza has some excellent accommodation options, either in the city or in the immediate surroundings.
Here is a selection of places to stay in Mendoza:
- Chill Inn Hostel – it’s a lovely hostel located on Aristides, the most lively area of Mendoza. It boasts a very easygoing vibe with excellent social spaces; comfortable dorms; clean bathrooms and a nice pool to relax on hottest days.
- Park Hyatt Mendoza is a fantastic option if you feel like splurging. Some rooms have incredible mountain views.
- Tanino Guest House a good in-between option with private rooms with or without private bathrooms. There even is a nice outdoor pool.
- El Encuentro, in Chacras de Coria, is a small boutique hotel tucked away on a small side street and boasting rustic charme. The garden is very well kept.
- Plaza Paradiso Petit Hotel is on Chacras de Coria’s main street. It has large rooms, a small pool with views of the surrounding mountains and a fantastic breakfast buffet.
To better plan your trip to Argentina, make sure to read this posts:
- A Flash Pack’s Argentina Itinerary
- A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina
- 32 Unmissable Things To Do In Buenos Aires
- 11 Fantastic Day Trips From Buenos Aires
- A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires
- 25 Delicious Argentina Food To Try
- A Complete Guide To Salta Argentina
- Top 13 Things To Do In Rosario Argentina: An Insider’s Guide!
- The Best Argentine Movies