Mendoza the Land of the Wine Gods

posted Mar 18, 2011, 2:52 PM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Mar 24, 2011, 8:57 AM ]
We booked directly through our hotel a one day excursion of 3 wineries.  The cost was 600 pesos for the car, the driver and the driving around.  The tastings and tours are extra.  We lucked out and got a guy called Pedro Quiroga of Mendoza Tour, his email is   He spoke fluent English due to living in the United States for 25 years but originally he is from Mendoza, Argentina.  Pedro was also very funny and fun to be with and he was a good driver and he had a brand new car that fit the 4 of us comfortably.  Pedro picked us up from our hotel and whisked us away to our first of the 3 wineries and it was called Vino El Cerno and it was very close only about a half hour drive from our hotel. 
Cerno dates back to 1916 and they produce 100,000 bottles per year.  Veronica was our English speaking tour guide through the workings of this small winery.  We even went down to the cellar which was really cool. 
We decided to enjoy our flights of wine outside on a table that she set up for us which had the vineyard on one side of us and the Almond tree orchard on the other side.  There were trellises of growing grapes that were for table use and you could eat them right off of the vines.  We also walked out to the vines and tried some of the very purple cab sav grapes, which were also tasty.  The flight of half glasses of wine was from lighter to more full bodied.  I liked them all except for the second one which was actually the most aged and I thought that it would have tasted better on a salad then in a glass.  The third was excellent.  We really enjoyed ourselves and then I paid Veronica 30 pesos for the flight of wine and 10 pesos for the tour.
We drove on to Bodega La Garde and this was the oldest winery that we went to which was established in 1897.  We came here to have lunch and it turned out to be the best meal that all of us had in all of Argentina.  They kept giving us more wine every time we turned around.  We started with a light white and had our starter and then moved on to the medium bodied red and had our entre then a sparkling wine with our dessert.  It was a lovely experience and we ate well and drank well.  The only thing that I did not like about the whole experience was the sparkling wine which is yukky and gives me hiccups.  The dining took place outside on a lovely terrace with great ambiance and we yakked the whole time and we were probably there for 2 hours eating and drinking so you can imagine how tipsy we were getting.  The cost for all food and drink was 200 pesos which I thought was reasonable for what we received.  We then watched the process of the trucks coming in and dumping their grapes into huge bins before we left.  When we eventually left La Garde you could see huge trucks carrying grapes in their cargo hold.  It was harvest season when we were here so the wineries were busy.

The third winery was called Bodega Catena Zapata and it was more modern and it had a beautiful building on the site.  We toured around there and got great views of the surrounding vineyards.  We also got a look into their cellar area or wine fridge and she was saying that there are bottles of wine that were up to 100 years old in there.
My mouth was just starting to water at that thought.  At the end of the tour we got a free medium bodied red half glass and we were all very tired at this point and could not sit down to do another flight of wine or it would not have been pretty so we said our goodbyes and went to find Pedro who was surprised to see us this early but we do know our limits.  Pedro drove us back to our hotel and we tipped him 80 pesos because he was good and he added to our trip with his stories.

The Vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina