Mendoza, Argentina is surrounded by three different wine regions that together produce 75% of the world’s Malbec, so it’s no surprise that wine tasting is the top attraction. One of the most common ways to visit wineries is by booking private tours through one of the tour agencies in town. It’s quite pricey, about $150-$160 USD each, so we opted not to go this route. Several of our friends and people we met did this though and said it was absolutely worth the money. Tours usually include a gourmet lunch and opportunities to meet the winemakers or even make your own blend.
We enjoyed wine-tastings three different, more affordable ways:
- Biking to wineries in Maipu
- Wine tastings at bars and shops in Mendoza
- Cabbing to wineries in Lujan de Cuyo
It’s important to understand that most of the wineries are at least twenty minutes outside of Mendoza, so there’s limited opportunities for wine tasting in Mendoza itself, but we managed to find a few.
The Park Hyatt offered a free wine tasting for guests each evening between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Led by the sommeliers, guests have an opportunity to learn about the Mendoza wine region and try two to three unique wines.
The hotel concierge also told us about a daily tasting from 7-9p.m. at the Wine O’Clock shop around the corner. Once we were wandering around on San Martin street trying to exchange money and a random wine shop was doing a free tasting out front. Of course, you can always also buy wine cheaply from these types of shops to try on your own or buy wine by the glass or bottle at most restaurants in Mendoza.
Our final day in Mendoza we didn’t need to be back for paragliding until 2 p.m. so we decided to squeeze in a few more wineries close by. We took a cab (about $10) to Alta Vista Winery. We did not have a reservation, but they were gracious enough to give us a private tour and tasting. One of the larger exporters of wine in Argentina, Alta Vista had beautiful facilities.
The tasting room was full so our tasting was done in the “tasting lab,” where the professionals try wines and spit them out right into the sinks at each station. We certainly weren’t spitting any of our wine out! The cost was 90 pesos each for a basic tasting or 140 pesos each to upgrade to a reserve tasting that included a taste of the Alto, their premier reserve. We did the reserve tasting so paid about $20 USD total. The staff was very friendly and helped us catch a cab to our next winery.
Clos de Chacras:
Our cab from Alta Vista was only $4 USD. It’s a bit of a walk but certainly doable if you have the time. We shared the premium tasting here for 155 pesos ($11 USD) and enjoyed it on the patio with another couple from New York. This was one of the only places that offered complimentary snacks with a tasting, and we devoured our small cheese, cracker and raisin plate. The town of Chacras is very pleasant to walk around and there’s some good restaurants where you can find a nice lunch. We wished we had had more time in this area!