10 tips to plan your trip to Mendoza

Mendoza is one of the global capitals of wine. The 8th to be more accurate.

PH: Michael Evans.

PH: Michael Evans.

A number of factors such as its rich wine history, the quality of the wines and the wonderful landscapes have made the province one of the main touristic destinations today. This is why we are going to give some tips for those adventurers who want to visit this mandatory destination for the enotourists. But first, it is interesting to differentiate it from the traditional tourist who visits the soil of Mendoza.

How to identify it?

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.

The following tips are for the latter.

1) Program your trip!

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

How many days will I spend?

It is crucial to calculate the budget destined to the trip and the places to visit

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 relax is a must for you, Rosell Boher Lodge allows us to enjoy a jacuzzi on the terrace of each room, ideal to end a hectic day because of tours and visits, meanwhile the sun goes 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 we are going to visit and where to stay. For instance, the central areas are near Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu. If we think of Uco Valley, we have to consider about 1.30 hours of traveling, even much more if we consider to get to know the south of Mendoza (around 200 to 250km from the capital).

2) Book, book and book!

The best-organized wineries always take reservations, this will also help us with the itinerary we design. There are places (especially the most popular ones) that can be available almost 30 days apart from the date of consultation. So, the sooner we contact them, the better.

The moment of reservation is useful for having direct contact with the winery and also to let them know the characteristics in which we will travel (for example, if it is a family trip, it is important to take into account that many locations do not receive children).

3) Trust the official agencies

Beyond having Tripadvisor and deciding to self-manage the wine tour, do not lose the 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”.

Let’s look for official agencies and drivers with qualifications to make our trip really productive. They can also guide us and advise us on our itinerary.

4) Do not get mad about wine

Whether it is a short trip or a long trip, we are always going to end up trying to try more wine than we really can. Warning: do not get crazy about wine. In one morning we can visit up to 3 wineries, and truly if in the first and from an early start we try more wine than we can, we will not get even close to the third.

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

5) Open your mind

This goes to those who have visited Mendoza once, or have a friend who got them a bottle of wine from the province, or perhaps have a predilection for any 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 has nowadays 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 definitely unique building, excellent Bordeaux school wines, and it is mandatory if you want to stop 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 we can take on a visit. Consult all your doubts no matter how simple 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 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; through 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 we choose to travel, there will be different experiences. My advice is to make the trip between February and May when the harvest is happening. To taste wines in fermentation, to see the harvest itself, to taste the grape grains and to experience all the magic of creating wine. It is just priceless! However, whenever you can come will be awesome, 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 thanks to planning you will be able to visit many 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 send the wine home. Just imagine being relaxed at home and suddenly receiving that wine you love at your door!

For example, some wineries have an online section for purchasing online on their website so that after your visit, you can choose which wines you want to enjoy at home, such as Bianchi Winery, Clos de Chacras, and Susana Balbo. However, 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. We consequently become a trustworthy source of information and, above all, recommendation. Online platforms and social networks allow us to share our experience (or at least the most delighting ones) so that other travelers 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 us 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 our experience there.

 

Do you agree? What other tips would we have to give to travel to Mendoza? Helps us to build a more complete 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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