Travel Along Argentina's Spectacular Wine Route
As the largest wine producer in South America, and the fifth largest in the world, Argentina offers tourists the opportunity of visiting some of its estimated 2,000 wineries along its 2,000 kilometer Wine Route (Ruta del Vino). The wine route winds its way through several provinces, with varying terrain and altitudes, including some of the most spectacular scenery one could hope to see in this exotic South American country.
The provinces of San Juan, San Luis and Mendoza form part of the Cuyo region, with Mendoza being home to more than a thousand wineries producing over 80% of the country’s wine. With Argentina's magnificent Mount Aconcagua as a backdrop, Mendoza is located in the eastern foothills of the Andes with the vineyards planted at altitudes of between 600 and 1,100 meters above sea level. The purple Malbec cultivar is the most important crop in the region, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Temprenillo – all used in the production of red wines. Other varieties grown in the Cuyo region include the pink-skinned Cereza and Criolla Grande.
Although the wine growing regions experience a dry climate, the snow and glacial melt from the Andes Mountains provide plenty of pure water for irrigation. In fact, the dry climate is advantageous, as it prevents the grapevines from falling victim to many diseases experienced in wetter climates. Other wine producing areas in Argentina include the provinces of Córdoba and Buenos Aires in the Pampas region; the provinces of Jujuy, La Rioja, Catamarca, Salta and Tucumán in the Argentine Northwest; and Río Negro and Neuquén in Patagonia.
With its spectacular scenery, fascinating culture and well-priced accommodation, Argentina has become one of Latin America's prime tourism destinations in recent years. Wine tourism is one of the sectors that has shown exceptional growth and an increasing number of wineries are improving their tourism infrastructure by offering guided tours, musical and arts events, as well as accommodation, fine dining and other activities. Certainly, traveling the Wine Route is a great way to see the natural beauty and experience the warm hospitality of Argentina.