Viticulture was introduced to Argentina during the Spanish colonisation in the 16th century and the first commercial vineyard was established in 1557. Containing the 2nd largest landmass in South America, Argentina is the 5th
largest wine producer in the world. Leaving the vibrant capital of Buenos Aires you’ll find Latin American culture, stunning mountain scenery, gauchos, steaks galore and more.
The major regions are located in the western part of the country amongst the foothills of the Andes Mountains, bordering Chile. Mendoza accounts for 70% of wine output, and, as a large area of production, it’s split into many sub-regions. The three broad main areas are Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, and, relative newcomer and possibly most exciting, Uco Valley. Heading north, other major regions are La Rioja and San Juan. Even further towards the equator are Salta and Catamarca, which at 1700-2000 meters are home to some of the highest vineyards in the world. And to the far south Patagonia…
Malbec is the iconic grape variety and almost synonymous with wines of Argentina. It now accounts for almost 40% of black grape plantings and 65% of all exports. Other important reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, the Italian varietal Bonarda, and Merlot. Main whites are the local, grapey-like Torrontes, Muscat of Alexandria, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. 30% of all grape plantings are still from the high-yielding, pink-skinned Criolla Chica and Criolla Grande.
Most of the wine regions are semi-arid, desert-like with very low annual rainfall, which is supplemented by irrigation provided by the snowmelt from the mountains. Many vineyards are at high altitude where summer temperatures during the growing season can reach 40 °C falling to 10 °C at night – so large a diurnal variation. Soils throughout the country are mostly alluvial and sandy with some areas having substrates of clay, gravel and limestone.
Past Tours to Argentina
Mountains, Malbec, meat and more. That’s a perfect summary of this gorgeous tour. In Argentina, we tasted great wines in Mendoza and Uco Valley, tasted delicious lunches and barbeques, went to a Tango performance and experienced the majestic scenery of the Andes. Uruguay was such a lovely contrast, with the beautiful town of Colonia, where we discovered the Tannat grape and met some unforgettable wine personalities. South America, we can’t wait to see you again.