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  1. What a great writeup! We are really looking forward to Mendoza, and we’ve really benefitted from all your advice on South America so far. Thanks for paving the way. 🙂

  2. Wow, excellent information…thank you! We are headed there in a couple of months and will definitely heed your advice for Mendoza wine tasting. Can’t wait to try these.

  3. Glad you guys had a good time in Mendoza, but as you allude in the writeup, not all travelers have the same experience and Mendoza is definitely one of those places you either love or hate. On our own visit around the same time you went, despite our best attempts to like the place and the wine, we really did not enjoy it. Won’t go into the details here (plenty of negative feedback on Mendoza is already out there) but what’s important to mention to your readers here is that Mendoza and the surrounding wineries essentially shut down for the weekend. That’s right, if you want to visit any winery on a Saturday it pretty much has to be before 10a.m. and unless you are super lucky you had darn well better arranged for the tour a few days in advance (and, of course, you’ll be paying fees for both the visit and the tasting). On Sunday the place is dead! Apparently, the Argentinians are wholly unfamiliar with the idea of a wine-tasting weekend. We can’t imagine that Argentinians or tourists would not enjoy arriving in town on a Friday afternoon and spending the weekend at leisure visiting wineries and tasting. But it is totally impossible in Argentina and, unless you are a tourist it’s really not that much fun to be going wine tasting during the week (no interaction with the locals who are busy working).

    Now if you want a country that really knows how to have amazing wine tasting weekends where you can have unlimited tastings of even the priciest of wines (talking over $150/bottle here) for the low price of only $20 for an entire weekend, check out the wine regions around Cape Town, South Africa! Amazing!!! And the wines taste better than Argentina too (but that’s a subjective opinion, of course, and the better atmosphere in South Africa probably contributes to the “taste” of the wine 🙂 )

  4. Looks like my husband would love to meet Mr. Carmelo Patti, Thanks for the share of this lovely experince and information.

  5. @Betsy and Andrea: Glad this write up was helpful for your upcoming visits to Mendoza. The trick is to go beyond the Maipu biking trip to really get a feel for the quality of wines and to get to smaller wineries without loads of visitors at one time. Enjoy!

    @Ognen: Yes, Mendoza is either a hit or miss with travelers. I think it helped us that we had already visited Argentina’a other two wine regions (Patagonia/Neuquen and Cafayate) so we knew to expect a few tweaks here and there. Many of the other travelers we met who were disappointed by Mendoza seemed to only do the Maipu bike tour, which completely makes sense to us – that is more like mob wine tasting rather than a relaxing experience where you’re talking with the winemakers or owners (very glad we did Maip after the experience in Lujan de Cuyo).

    But, I hadn’t thought about the weekend closure issue – thank you for bringing that up. I’ve added a note in the post for this.

    I checked the wineries where we visited and about 70% do have Saturday openings, but only one had Sunday openings in high season. But the reality is that weekend openings are always less secure than weekday openings. I also noticed that some are closed on Mondays, so that’s another consideration.

    Regarding wine tasting with locals, our experience in the other two wine regions and Mendoza was that this wasn’t yet a common or popular thing for locals to do (when we couchsurfed in Neuquen our hosts found our wine tasting activities kind of amusing). We did meet up with some tour groups from Buenos Aires in a few place. Hopefully wine tasting as a local activity will change as it’s fun to chat with locals as part of the experience.

    Thanks for the tip on Cape Town- sounds like the whole experience is great! Hope to get there later this year!

    @Jane: Carmelo Patti makes you feel like one of the family. Definitely worth a visit – hope you and your husband make it out to meet him!

  6. @Randy: The high season for Mendoza wineries is October to April, but the wineries are usually open throughout the year and have fewer crowds. If you go around the grape harvest (usually March), there are some festivals and events going on that might be fun.

    If you’re going to be in Argentina and are interested in wines, also consider checking out the wine areas of Cafayate and Neuquen (Patagonia).

  7. Thanks for the great tips! I wasn’t familiar with this region before reading your post, but I must say I’d definitely like to check it out when we are in Argentina. Do you know if one season is better than others for visiting the wineries?

  8. I visited Mendoza during my RTW trip and toured the wineries independently (taking the public bus from the city center and then renting a bike). I am among the travelers who felt the experience did not live up to the hype. After visiting Mendoza we made our way to Cafayate, in northern Argentina. It’s a small, quaint town with few tourists, beautiful views and a number of wineries. If you liked Mendoza, you will love Cafayate!

  9. @Leslie: I completely understand the disappointment felt by other travelers to Mendoza. Actually, the main motivation for writing such a long piece like this was to help steer other travelers to Lujan de Cuyo and to Vines of Mendoza (in addition to biking) as these were the highlights of our visit and we thought others may enjoy this as well. If we had just done the biking tour in Mendoza we would have also been quite disappointed with our visit.

    Yes, we also really enjoyed wine tasting in Cafayate (you can read about it all here). Not only is the wine fantastic, but the northwestern part of Argentina was our favorite area of the country.

    @Cindy: Thanks so much for stopping by. Comments like this make our day! Yes, we are the real deal! We only write about things that we’ve experienced along our journey around the world – all information is 100% tested 🙂

  10. Thanks for following me on twitter so that I could find you! This website is fantastic…please don’t tell me it is fake ok?! I am so sick of finding lame websites that yours is such a breath of fresh air..actual usable information! my hat is off to you!

  11. Its like you guys can read my mind. Although I’m still in Lima I’ve been thinking about how I can do Mendoza well but not break my budget.

    Bookmarked on delicious!

  12. @Ayngelina: Mendoza is one of those towns in Argentina where you can blow a lot of cash quickly on wine and food. That’s why we loved finding the all-you-can-eat tapas night at the Hyatt for $12 and the happy hour nights at Vines of Mendoza. And, if you take the bus out to Lujan de Cuyo, there are quite a few wineries on the main street to visit that you can walk to if you don’t want to hire a taxi. Enjoy!!

  13. Wow this is an amazing write-up! My wife and I are going to Mendoza in exactly one month from today. We have 6 nights there, so we expect to do a ton of wine tasting as well as other activities. Having an insider / “real person’s” perspective on this is so valuable and will save us a ton of time and money. Thank you so much!

  14. @Joe: So glad that this information is useful and timely! You will be in Mendoza around the time of the harvest – should be quite interesting and lively. There is a lot of websites with information on wine tasting, but many are connected with a tour or some other company. The best advice we got was from other travelers and the sommeliers at Vines of Mendoza, so we wanted to pass this information on to other people so they know the options and can create their own great experiences. Enjoy!

  15. Hi Audrey,
    Catching up on the net… Just wanted to let you know that we took your tips in Mendoza and they were very useful. Thanks! We even got the barmen from your pic in The Tasting Room. Wanted to let you know put a link to your article in our post, but I see it already got back to you.

    Cheers,

  16. Can you provide the name and contact details of the driver/company you used to drive you around Mendoza?? Thanks!! 😉

    • We didn’t use a company to drive us around Mendoza, but instead picked up a taxi once we got to Lujan by public bus. Unfortunately, we don’t have his contact information. You could probably ask your hotel for a driver recommendation. Enjoy Mendoza!

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