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Written by
Pablo Ponce

Published
March 13, 2019

10 tips to plan your trip to Mendoza

PH: Michael Evans.

PH: Michael Evans.

The picturesque landscapes, popular wineries and a rich wine history make it a must-visit place. In recent years, both traditional and enotourists are flocking to Mendoza to enjoy all its offerings. 

What’s the difference between the two?

Conventional tourist: travels to Mendoza and takes advantage of the trip to visit wineries and taste wines 

Enotourist: designs and plans the trip exclusively with the objective of visiting wineries and tasting wines.

Get ready to make an Itinerary for your next trip!

1) Program your trip!

In Mendoza, there are more than 1,000 wineries, so getting there and then deciding where to go is the worst thing to do because the odds of finishing dizzy are very high. It is very useful to start with these questions:

How many days will I travel?

It is crucial to decide the number of days you will travel and the budget of the trip.

What am I going to do?

If the trip consists 100% of wineries, it is possible to alternate with other activities within them. For example, Bodega Gimenez Rilli offers activities such as horseback riding, bicycle tours along the vineyard and trekking. Another different option is Finca Agostino with its entertaining cooking classes, where visitors collect fresh ingredients from the garden while they learn how to prepare typical empanadas. Or if relaxing is a must for you, Rosell Boher Lodge allows one to enjoy a jacuzzi on the terrace of each room, ideal to end a hectic day while watching the sun go down through the mountains and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine. Mendoza has options for everything, so you just have to search and plan!

Where to go?

It is absolutely important to know which zones are you going to visit and where to stay. For instance, the central areas are near Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu. If you are thinking of visiting Uco Valley, you have to consider travel time of 1.30 hours (it’s nothing compared to New York traffic) the travel time would increase as you go further south of Mendoza(around 100 to 120 km from the capital).

2) Book, book and book!

The best-organized wineries always take reservations, this will also help you have an organized itinerary. There are places (especially the most popular ones) that can be booked almost 30 days in advance of the visit. So, the sooner you contact them, the better.

Having a prior reservation would help you have a direct contact with the winery and you can have all your needs taken care of (for example, if it is a family trip, it is important to take into account that many locations do not allow children).

3) Trust the official agencies

Beyond Tripadvisor and deciding to self-manage the wine tour, do not lose your focus at the last moment in a burst of desperation and end up “with the friend of a friend of a guy who I know who makes the tour cheaper”, because sometimes there is truth to the saying, “you get what you pay for”.

look for official agencies and drivers with qualifications to make your trip really productive. They can also guide you and advise you about your itinerary.

4) Do not get crazy about wine

Whether it is a short trip or a long trip, one is always trying to try more wine than one can handle. Warning: do not get crazy about wine. In one morning you can visit up to 3 wineries, and truly if you decide to try a lot of wines at your very first winery, you are not even going to get through the second one.

Never forget this: one glass of wine, one glass of water. This way, we you will be able to finish the day.

5) Be Open to New Experiences

This is for all those who have visited Mendoza once, or have a friend who got them a bottle of wine from the province, or perhaps have a bias towards a particular brand… do not close the itinerary of the trip because of your known preferences. Take the opportunity to try new, rare, different things. Every visit is a unique opportunity!

Mendoza nowadays has wineries for everyone! Big, small, boutique, massive, modern style of wines, old school… from North to South, you definitely can get a varied itinerary to know a bit of everything. Maybe you can ask that to your tour guide (if you have).

For instance, Weinert Winery is a fantastic place with a lot of history that not many know. An amazing and unique building with excellent Bordeaux school wines, it falls under the mandatory visit if you want to step out of the conventional. Or Belasco de Baquedano that offers a unique experience with its aromas room, where you will learn to recognize them easily in the different stages of winemaking. And if it is about gastronomy, Chandón offers a 100% paired lunch with sparkling wines (it is the only one in Argentina that does it).

6) Ask as many questions as you want and listen as much as possible

Make the most out of each moment, each situation and each place. You traveled too many miles to be shy! Interacting with the guides and winemakers is one of the best benefits you can take on a visit. Clear all your doubts no matter how small they seem, it is always better to learn straight from the horse’s mouth and gradually become an expert.

7) There is more than wine

The growing trends around enotourism have made many establishments resignify the concept of tourism. They went from offering tastings and walks around the winery to living the whole experience. From lunches and dinners with the highest level of cuisine, evening teas, cooking classes, to additional activities such as horseback riding, bicycles, hiking, yoga, etc.

For example, Clos de Chacras is a fantastic place to have dinner, or if we want to go a step further, Lagarde offers fantastic Nights at Fogón; with a 12-step menu, they present a tour of Argentina through different regional ingredients.

8) When to travel

This point is totally related to planning because according to the time of the year you choose to travel, you will have different experiences. My advice is to plan a trip between February and May when the harvest is taking place. To taste wines during fermentation, to see the harvest itself, to taste the grape grains and to experience all the magic of creating wine, this is the best time. It is just priceless! However, whenever you choose to come, you will have a memorable experience, since the province is prepared to deliver experiences beyond the harvest.

9) Check for home delivery

It does not matter if the trip is long or short, I assure you that with good planning, you will be able to visit multiple wineries. But sometimes thinking of moving or traveling with bottles of wine becomes a bit annoying. That’s why many of these establishments offer to deliver the wine to your home country. Just imagine relaxing at home and getting the wine you love straight to your doorstep.

For example, some wineries have an online section for purchasing wine on their website. Either way, all the wineries will help you carry wines or even ship them directly to your door.

10) Share your experience with other tourists

Your journey does not end when you are back at home. You consequently become a trustworthy source of information and, above all, recommendation. Online platforms and social networks allow one to share his/her experience so that other travellers get that last little push they need to make the same or a similar trip. Moreover, as mentioned before, online platforms like Trip Advisor can help you decide what to do, how and where to go. It is a good way to contribute and return the favor in the form of a practical guide by sharing your experience there.

Do you agree? What other tips do you need to travel to Mendoza? Helps us to build a more comprehensive guide!


Pablo Ponce

@poncetivi

Winemaker graduated at Don Bosco school, wine communicator and editor of the blog www.thebigwinetheory.com

He used to work, from 2005 to 2013, in different wineries in Mendoza, participating in the technical area of elaboration, microbiology, fractionation and quality control. Some of them are La Rural, Familia Zuccardi, Escorihuela Gascón and Finca La Celia. In parallel, since 2010, he began his career as wine communicator. In 2012 he created his blog “The Big Wine Theory” and since then he has collaborated with several digital channels.
He currently works as Wine Communicator of Bodega Gimenez Riili and is responsible for the content management for social networks of Santa Julia Winery, Cassone Family Winery, Benegas Winery, Clos de Chacras Winery, Compuertas Negras Winery, Arpex Argentina and Wine Institute (where he also works as a teacher).

 

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