Mendoza is famous for being Argentina’s number one wine region. So, no visit to Mendoza without planning a visit to some of all the wineries in the region.
However, that first it can be a bit confusing to figure out how best to visit the wineries.
When should you visit? Which are the best wineries to visit? Should you book a guide or go on your own?
After visiting Mendoza, I have put together this blog post to help you answer some of the above questions.
These 8 practical tips will properly help you get the most out of your visit to the wineries in Mendoza.
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#1 Where to find the wineries in Mendoza
Mendoza has three main wine areas or departments; Luján de Cuyo, Maipu, and Valle de Uco.
All of them are located outside the city center of Mendoza. You will need either a car, a bike, or public transportation (and a good portion of patience) to get there.
In all Mendoza, there are more than 1.200 wineries in and around Mendoza. So, it is impossible to get to visit all of the wineries! So, you’ll have to choose…
… And do not try to visit all the three wine departments in one day!
Some of the wineries a located pretty far apart, and you will also want to do some wine tasting while you are there, right?
There is a reason why most wine tours are for one area and for a total of three wineries.
#2 When to visit the wineries in Mendoza
Most of the wineries in Mendoza are open visits all year
The time that everyone would recommend you to visit Mendoza is in March for the harvest season. There is a huge harvest festival in March, which is a popular destination for both local Argentine tourists and international tourists. However, as with everything popular, it gets very crowded.
I visited Mendoza at the end of September, which is
The wine fields are beginning to grow, and do (of course) not have any grapes on them. So, if you are up for photos of blooming wine fields and grapes – plan your trip to be as close to March as possible.
#3 Get your Spanish wine vocabulary right
Anywhere you visit in Argentina, it is always good to have your Spanish vocabulary right on spot. And Mendoza is no exception!
So, for visiting Mendoza, of course, you need to have your wine vocabulary brushed up:
- Vino is wine…
…But then again in Mendoza, it will never “just” be vino. It will be Malbec, Red Blend, etc. There is plenty to be aware of.
- Bodega is winery
All around town in Mendoza you will see offers for “tours de bodegas”. Bodega simply means winery in Spanish. When visiting Mendoza, it is almost as important a word to know as vino.
- Cosecha is harvest
Especially, if you are visiting around March, you will hear the word
Remember to get your Spanish up and running before your visit to Argentina. Check out my beginner to Spanish Greetings in Argentina.
#4 Should you book a tour to visit the wineries or go on your own?
It can seem a bit confusing, whether or not you need to book a guided tour to visit the wineries.
As mentioned above (tip #1) most of the wineries are located quite far apart. So, the benefit of a guided tour is that you have somebody to drive you from one winery to the other.
Normally, there are 3 bodegas included in the price of the tours. You can opt-in or out of the option for lunch at the last place.
When I visited Mendoza, I did a guided tour through Airbnb with a local guide and had a great time. Traveling alone it was great not having to think about how to get from one place to another, and I had a great time chatting with my guide, Fernando.
HOWEVER; you can also easily go out and explore the wineries in Mendoza on your own.
There are both bike rentals that offer you a map of the areas. Even the public transportation in Mendoza drops you off nearby many of the main wineries.
The easiest wine area to visit on your own is Maipú (read more in tip #7).
#6 Which wineries should you visit in Mendoza?
It can be hard to figure out which wineries to visit while in Mendoza. Especially, if you are planning to go out and explore on your own.
An idea is to try and check out which wineries different tours go to, and then check out whether you can reserve a visit on your own there.
Both wineries are highly recommendable. Both places offer guided tours of the winery which you can reserve directly with them.
Recommendations: Alta Vista and Clos de Chacras
Clos de Chacras is a boutique winery that also has a restaurant where they also offer a delicious lunch menu! The tour of the winery was a little bit unprofessional. But the wines were great (and that’s, after all, the most important, right?).
Alta Vista was properly the most professionally run winery I visited while in Mendoza, and their wine tasting had a great selection of different types of wine. The winery itself is picturesque and located in beautiful old buildings with a view of the Andes Mountains.
It is important to reserve your visits beforehand if you want to do the wineries on your own (see tip #8 for more information)
Alternatively, you can also check out what wineries are included in the touristic bus that circulates within the main bodega areas of Mendoza. You might get a more touristic experience opting for this last option but, on the contrary, you are secured professional guides at the more professional places.
So, you see there are plenty of options for wineries in Mendoza. Thus, remember that most tours include three wineries for a reason.
#7 Maipú is the easiest wine area to visit on your own
Maipú is the wine department closest to Mendoza city, and it is, therefore, also the easiest area to visit on your own.
Actually, Maipú can be reached by public transportation from the center of Mendoza. The red tranvía which leaves from the center of Mendoza (Avenida las Heras and Avenida Belgrano), takes you directly to Maipú. Get off that the final stop on the line called Gutiérrez. This is the center of Maipú.
From the station, you can easily visit both the winery Bodega Lopez (literally just a stone’s throw from the station) and Museum Antigua Bodega Goli. Both wineries are within walking distance from the station in Maipú.
Museum Antigua Bodega Goli
I visited the Museum Antigua Bodega Goli which is a strange thing between a wine shop and a museum. It is located in the buildings of what was once one of the biggest wineries in Mendoza – Bodega Goli. But the place has not been running for ages, and the tour of this ghost winery is a bit scary.
There is a lot of history at the place. However, I believe that the interesting part of visiting a winery is to see where the wine is made and taste it. For the obvious reason that they don’t produce here anymore, the wine you will taste is from somewhere else. And honestly, the wine offered at the tasting was not great at all.
Maipú is a great choice if you are on a budget but still want to enjoy some wineries in Mendoza. You can easily reach some of the main wineries in Maipú with the local bus or by renting a bike by the Maipú station.
However, if you want to task some great wines it might be a good idea to reserve with some of the more boutique wineries instead of visiting the mainstream ones.
#7 Luján de Cuyo and their
world famous Malbec
The wine area of Luján de Cuyo is world famous for having the best Malbec wine in the region (yes, maybe even in the world?).
So, if you opt for visiting Luján de Cuyo while in Mendoza, remember to get to try some of their Malbec!
As mentioned above, I visited Luján de Cuyo on a private tour, and I especially enjoyed visiting the winery Alta Vista. They also happened to have a delicious Malbec included in their wine tasting.
In the Luján de Cuyo department, you have Chacras de Coria which is a neighborhood in the suburbs of Mendoza surrounded by wineries. The winery Clos de Chacras (mentioned above) is located here.
Some find Chacras de Coria a cute place to visit on weekends with handcraft markets to visit. However, I didn’t find it that interesting after all.
#8 Reserve your winery tour beforehand
If you opt for doing your tour to the wineries on your own, remember that for some of the wineries, you’ll have to reserve your visit beforehand.
Most of the bodegas start with the first tours around 10 am and have the last one at 3 pm or 3.30 pm. And after 5 pm almost all of the wineries are closed.
So, even though it might seem strange to visit a winery at 10 am (and start tasting wine at that time too!), there is some logic to it.
And after all, you are in Mendoza – the Argentine capital of wine – so who