Mendoza Province is Argentina’s most important wine region, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production. Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Aconcagua, vineyards are planted at some of the highest altitudes in the world, with the average site located 600–1,100 metres (2,000–3,600 ft) above sea level.
With more than 1,500 wineries spread out through the three main wine regions – Lujan de Cuyo, Valle de Uco and Maipu, Malbec is the region’s most important planting, followed closely by Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Chardonnay.
This is our selection of wineries that you can visit in Mendoza, including all sizes and diverse characteristics.
Zuccardi is the most popular, most impressive and most visited winery in the country. It has been ranked the number one vineyard in the world for three consecutive years by The Worlds Best Vineyards. The price elevated Zuccardi and it is nowadays an international player, even in comparison with some of the wineries from the “old world”.
Its popularity made the visit plus tasting with reservation only and non-refundable. Its restaurant, Piedra Infinita Cocina (named after the flagship ‘Piedra Infinita’ vineyard), offers 4 and 6 courses meals with a stunning view of the Andes.
The architecture is all around the local materials, in particular the stones. It was completed in 2016 and designed by architects Tom Hughes, Fernando Raganato and Eugenia Mora using only natural, local materials both inside and out.
The cellar, with an impressive huge rock in the middle, and the rounded tasting room, are very impressive. However; the tasting was not our favourite at all, as it was too impersonal and not very informative. But the amenities were outstanding nonetheless.
Casa Vigil (El Enemigo)
Casa Vigil is one of the trendiest wineries in Argentina. It is owned by Catena and its winemaker director and oenologist, Alejandro Vigil. Their wines are currently very popular and can be found all over the country: El Enemigo and the more expensive El Gran Enemigo., contributing to the popularity of the space in Mendoza.
The visit includes some explanations about wine, a look all over the premises, and the story behind the concept of El Enemigo, which is quite interesting on its own. In other words, they do have a story to tell the visitors; and that story matches the ambience, decoration and service in the restaurants as well.
They offer both lunch and dinner, unlike most of the wineries that offer only lunch. However; for dinner, only 7 or 10 courses set menus are available. And the good news is that the food is delicious and the wine pairing is super generous. Essentially, you can order a top-up of any of the wines as many times as you want, which is not so common either.
One of the wines I can recommend is Gran Enemigo Gualtallary.
Alfa Crux is not as popular as it deserves to be. It was a recommendation from a couple of friends, so we tried it out and we liked it a lot. It was named after the brightest star in the mystical Crux constellation and was designed in perfect harmony with the earth and its surroundings.
The premises are also spectacular. Like many others, it is lying at the foot of the imposing Andes mountain range. Futuristic and modern, the winery combines architecture, culture, art and contemplation offering visitors an unforgettable experience. Its bigger building has a sort of innovative ceiling which outstands from the rest. Its cellar is under a skylight projecting a large cross of natural light.
Its restaurant is called Crux Cocina and offers a set menu with 6 courses, accompanied by one of four different wine ranges: Crux, Xtra, Beta, Alfa. On each range, you will taste multiple varieties. The restaurant is beautiful, but I strongly recommend booking a table outside, which wooden deck faces an artificial lake, making the landscape even more impressive.
Lagarde is another winery that you don’t want to miss. With the first vine planted in 1897, it is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza. It was also the first Latin American producer to plant non-traditional varieties such as Viognier and Moscato Bianco.
This winery is not as impressive and immense as Zuccardi or the other big ones, but they give importance to the visitors and the tours and tasting are designed for private or small groups only.
El Fogon, its restaurant, is one of the most popular in Mendoza, and it was one of our favourites without a doubt. Delicious food (outstanding rib-eye steak, mollejas and empanadas) and wine, great service, warm and tranquil atmosphere and attention to detail in every aspect are their main characteristics. It is also the one higher in the reviews websites and highly recommended everywhere.
Another thing we noticed in the restaurant is that they have the most diverse menu of all. You can order à la carte or the typical 5, 7 or more courses. And they also offer many options with the wine. Either a full pairing with the set menu, a set of three wines of different ranges, or a ser of a number of wines of the same variety. For all tastes!
If you have the possibility, try their signature (and the most expensive, top-end) wine, Henry. If you prefer value for money, I can recommend their Guarda range, in particular Malbec DOC or the blend.
Clos de Chacras
Clos de Chacras was another great surprise. It was not part of our itinerary, but it was recommended by some friends. It is located right in Chacras de Coria, a small town/residential area on the edge of the city of Mendoza. The town, which you should also visit, is known for its wineries and restaurants and is a gateway to nearby Ruta del Vino vineyards.
It is a small, family-run winery, which entrance is a modest gate behind the town. We entered without reservation, which is not that common and some wineries would not let you in (In these cases you can always say that you just want to buy some wine). The atmosphere and staff were so nice that we ended up doing the tour and tasting.
And although at some point the explanations can get repetitive, we really enjoy this one. Different people can have different ways of explaining and making you taste the wine, and that’s the beauty of Mendoza and all its wineries.
I can recommend trying the Gran Estirpe range. Or if you are willing to spend some money on a top-end wine, try IDA.
Bodega La Azul is another popular winery in Mendoza. It is located in the Tupungato area, very close to some of the big names in the industry such as Rutini and Salentein, so very handy to be included in multiple winery visits.
It is a less sophisticated but more friendly and warm winery. Its restaurant offer set many wine pairing, and there are also tasting/visit available, with the latest being at 4 pm. Its restaurant is also known for giving almost unlimited top-ups. During the tasting, they give you a glass of red directly from the barrel, which did not happen to us in any other place.
In terms of their wines, we liked Azul Gran Reserva very much, so we left with more than one bottle. It’s a 60% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon with 24 months of barreling (30% American, 70% French).
Andeluna is also located in the area of Tupungato, very close to La Azul. Its name was inspired by the Andes (Ande) and the moon (Luna). It is relatively new, founded in 2005 and has an approximate capacity of 1.5 million litres in stainless steel tanks, an underground cellar with 1,000 oak barrels and storage for about 1 million bottles.
Its general vibe is also laid back, very different to the big names. Its restaurant offers set menus of 2 and 4 courses with pairing, plus a more relaxed one (you get 1 glass and can order more, and you choose small plates from a menu), and also one for kids.
Moreover, unlike other wineries, they offer cooking classes and a sunset experience. The latter is called “Tardecitas de Andeluna” in Spanish, and the idea is to enjoy a bunch of small plates (cheeses and cold meats, vegetable and meat skewers and more) on lounge chairs and garden furniture, overlooking The Andes.
Last but not least, their wine bar is open all day, so you can pass by and enjoy a glass of wine without reservation, a service that is not that comment either in other places.
Matias Riccitelli has gained a lot of popularity recently, and it is becoming the winery of the moment, especially among younger generations. It is located in Lujan De Cuyo and comprises 20 hectares divided into three different vineyards.
In their own words, “this is a young and dynamic project, in which Matias wants to express the full potential of Argentine Terroirs while making top wines with constant care and personal style – essential elements for great quality – Riccitelli Wines combine a high level of technology and the richness of the native soil of their vineyards”.
It is considered by some as a boutique, modern and/or hipster winery. They offer tours and tastings every day at 9:30 and 11:30, plus lunch from Tuesday to Sunday at their Riccitelli Bistró. The cooks from a popular and also trendy restaurant in Buenos Aires, Anafe, were cooking in the winery when we were there. Reservation is required.
Ernesto Catena is also a very special/different winery. First of all, this one has (almost) nothing to do with Catena Zapata, which is one of the most important wineries in the country, founded in 1902, and which is currently managed by the third and fourth generations. Nicolás Catena Zapata, its founder, is known as the man who revolutionized Argentine wine in the 1980s winning many awards, including Decanter Man of the Year from Decanter Magazine and others.
Ernesto Catena is the eldest son of Nicolás Catena. Defined by many as the “bohemian” son of the Catena family, he decided to open his own independent winery. With a fascinating personality, he has lived in New York, Berkeley, Cambridge, Milan and London, and he is an avid reader, painter, art collector, horseman, polo player and archer.
He developed his own winemaking style, “the path of the artist”. His mission is to transform winemaking into true art. Like painting, music and dance are forms of art, when executed with feeling, when the soul is expressed. He believes in organic and biodynamic agriculture and the connection between us, nature and the universe.
He chooses different vineyards for different varieties of grapes, going where the soil and the climate ensure the best expression of each varietal, working also with small producers in order to obtain the best grape.
His wines have an identity all their own, like the concentrated Siesta wines, the mysterious Alma Negra blends and the unmistakable Tahuántinsuyus. Alma Negra is one of my favourite wines.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit their finca in Vista Flores town, Uco Valley, as they were not open for tourism. Nor either the smaller winery he has in Chacras de Coria, L’Orange. But if you have the opportunity, don’t miss it!
Gimenez Riili is a medium-sized winery located in the area of Los Arboles. Their history started in 1979 when its founders (Eduardo Gimenez and Susana Riili) purchased and restored a winery in Rodeo de la Cruz. His ancestors were wine producers, some arriving from Sicily in 1890.
What they called #EXPERIENCIAGIMENEZRILII includes a tour and tasting and a set menu with wine pairing. Surprisingly, its restaurant (with a capacity of 50 people) offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, sunsets and dinners. This is another winery in which the restaurant is also a wine bar (like Andeluna), so everyone can drop by and have a glass of wine without any formality. Its atmosphere is laid back, with a small but beautiful garden full of some sort/species of tiny guinea pigs. We didn’t stay for the sunset experience, but we heard it is worth it.
Last but not least, and besides all the standard services of a winery, they offer high-quality accommodation at Casa de Huéspedes Bodega Gimenez Riili. The boutique hotel comprises an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, a shared lounge, and complementary activities such as hiking, horseriding, yoga, mixology and cooking classes.
In terms of wines, they use “premium grapes from low-yielding but high-quality vineyards, expressing the vivacity and freshness of the Buenos Hermanos (Good Brothers), the wisdom and maturity of the Padres Dedicados (Dedicated Parents), and the unique complexity of each Gran Familia (Great Family).” If you have the possibility, try Joyas de Familia Gran Blend.
It is also next to Super Uco, another premium winery; and The Vines Resort & Spa, which comprises luxury villas with spa facilities, and it is home to one of the most popular restaurants in the country, Siete Fuegos, by the internationally acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann.
Clos de los Siete
Clos de los Siete was born as a project by one of the most prestigious and influential oenologist in the world, Michel Rolland. When he discovered Mendoza, and, in particular, the Valle de Uco area, he started looking for around 300 acres of vineyards to open his own winery, but he discovered a property of 2100 acres instead. Realizing it was too big, he started looking for investors and convinced seven families from France. They would independently make their own wines in their own wineries, and together they would make the wine labelled Clos de los Siete
There are currently four estates are giving wines to the Clos de los Siete brand: the family Parent in Bodegas y Vinedos Monteviejo, the family Cuvelier at Cuvelier los Andes, the family Bonnie at Bodega Diamandes and Bodega Rolland.
Among them, Diamandes and Monteviejo are the most impressive and worth visiting. The former offers visits and tastings with different ranges, plus a premium service (personalized) and lunch in their boutique restaurant. The latter, led oenologist by the Marcelo Pelleriti, also offers tours and tasting (in Spanish, English and Portuguese) of their different wine ranges and exceptional food at their restaurant (with an exceptional view of the vineyards and mountain range). Additionally, they have an Art and Culture space that connects wine, gastronomy, music, nature and cultural and artistic offerings when possible.
Carmelo Patti is a different case. While some of the wineries listed above are spectacular, and others are boutique, Carmelo’s small and rustic winery offers one of the more memorable wine tours in Mendoza.
He is one of Mendoza’s great old-school winemaking personalities and runs every corner of the winery operation himself. Originally from Sicicy, Italy, he migrated to Argentina when he was one year old and has been producing wine since the 80s, becoming one of the most respected and passionate oenologist in the country. He is quite unique in his character and will make everything he can to transfer knowledge to its visitors and provide an enjoyable experience.
For instance, in one of his tours, he starts listing all the things that people do wrong with wine. From storing it at the wrong temperature or position to the time and type of wine they use to do it. Learning from a person like this is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Moreover, all its wines are made naturally, with no chemical additives and only native yeast.
Laureano Gomez is a case similar to Carmelo Patti. A small, family-run winery in the Valle de Uco area, recommended by locals for the personalised experience.
Its tours and tasting are mostly run by Laureano himself. He gained experience working for several years in some of the biggest wineries (Trapiche y Salentein), to then start it’s own very close to the town of Tunuyán. With a production of 70,000 bottles a year, they have also built a reputation and it is considered one of the best small-size wineries in Mendoza.
The tasting includes drinking directly from the barrel, and two different ranges can be selected for the tour. There is also a restaurant offering Argentine traditional food, wine pairing, and the possibility of tasting their sparkling Malbec rose.
There are plenty of other excellent wineries in Mendoza, of all sizes and for all tastes. Some other wineries to consider visiting are the following:
For a review of the best accommodation offering, please visit our post Best Wine Hotels in Mendoza. And if you are interested in other activities such as rafting please visit Rafting on Mendoza River, Potrerillos.
Travel tips and recommendations
- Make reservations for all wineries and restaurants at least a couple of days in advance. The most popular will need more time.
- Plan on visiting two (maximum three) wineries per day.
- Plan your trip, especially your stay, by region – Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo or Uco Valley – as there are not that close to each other.
- Tours with tasting normally last 60-90 minutes.
- Some wineries do not open on weekends and bank holidays.
- If you don’t have a designated driver and you are planning to taste wines, hire a taxi (sometimes called a remis).
- If possible, take the opportunity to meet the winery owners and winemakers, which is sometimes feasible in the smaller ones.
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