James Turrell is one of American's most stunning artists and his work has found a home in the middle of nowhere in the province of Salta, Argentina.
Bodega Colome crushes some of the finest torrontes and malbec wine, thanks to vintner Donald Hess, who happens to also be a celebrated art collector. He created an on-site museum dedicated to Turrell's work that plays with your sense of space, with color and light.
The museum can be visited by appointment only and is worth the insane dirt road you must travel three hours from Cafayete to get there. You'll deserve the glass of vino tinto when you arrive, then be prepared for some of the most mind-bending art you'll ever experience.
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A vineyard on top of the world
Estancia Colome is nearly impossible to get to. Located at nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, high in a broad valley in the little-known, jaw-dropping Salta province of Argentina, you have to ford several rivers with your car to get there, which is scary enough itself. I finally had to leave my car on the banks of the last swollen river and call in for a 4WD ride from the note for the final kilometers.
It's one of the highest vineyards in the world and has just a handful of rooms, but the real payoff is the James Turrell Museum on site. For a recluse artist who creates works specially designed for viewing the sky, when you see it, you realize why he chose this site. No lights, just a boatload of stars that you can almost read to. Truly a magical place.
I heard recently that, probably due to the difficulty to get there, the hotel is now only available for private wine tours.
If you want to sleep under stars, this would be the place.
3am. Estancia Colome. Salta, Argentina. Home of one of the highest vineyards in the world (9,000 ft) and an incredible nine room hotel. Also home to the only museum created solely to house works of one of my favorite artists, James Turrell. One of the masters of creating on-site works that work with light and how it messes with your brain -- special rooms for viewing the sky -- in ways that blow your mind.
Once you make the difficult trek here -- hours of treacherous roads and many forded rivers -- you can see why he chose this remote place. I took four flights and drove hours just to see his works. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Thank you Donald Hess for creating this remarkable experience on your vineyard. Never have met you, but truly get what you're putting down…..
A decision that you will have to make everyday in Salta is - Malbec or Torrontes? There is no wrong decision.
Salta does have some of the best Torrontes in Argentina. Though it is widely planted in Argentina, it seems to do best in Salta Province.
Many of Salta’s vineyards are planted at dizzyingly high altitudes in the mountains and foothills. The mountains serve as both climate protection and irrigation. Grapes grown here reach perfect ripeness and acidity without becoming too extracted or alcoholic.
Some of the vineyards are at altitudes of 10,000 feet. The latitudes are as low as 24 degrees south. Their proximity to the equator is similar to such places as Egypt and Mozambique.
Colome Bodega is the oldest vineyard in Argentina. It is celebrating its 180th birthday. for more info go to