Best of the Harvest in Mendoza

La Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia celebrates Mendoza’s grape harvest with the country’s most important festivals. It’s one of the most exciting times to visit and experience the city’s culture.

Most locals will tell you that the best time to visit Mendoza is during La Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, Argentina’s biggest harvest festival, which takes place the first week of March. The festival is a week-long party packed with folkloric music and dancing, parades, and bacchanal wine consumption. The benediction of the fruit takes place the last weekend in February, and the first parade, Via Blanca de Las Reinas, is held on the first Friday evening in March, when allegoric chariots parade young women chosen as “queens” by their community to represent each of the 18 departments through the streets of Mendoza. On Saturday morning the queens participate in the Carrusel parade, where their floats are surrounded by men in traditional Argentine Cowboy or gaucho-style dress riding horses and followed by folkloric dancers. The Central Act takes place in Gen. San Martin Park’s Frank Romero Day Amphitheater with colorful performance from over 1,000 folkloric dancers. The evening concludes with the election of the Queen of the Vendimia and a fireworks display.
Cobos S/N, M5509 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
I love the wines of Mendoza, Argentina, but I wanted to marry the wines of Catena Zapata when I had the chance to drink them whilst overlooking the green vineyards backdropped by the soaring, snowcapped Andes peaks. The wines of Catena are mostly big reds made from malbec or cabernet, and they make some chardonnay and sauvignon blanc as well. The winery is fashioned after a stepped Maya pyramid and is furnished with state of the art equipment. Wine tours last about an hour and a half and finish at the tasting room, where you can purchase bottles of wine. Catena Zapata and the rest of the Mendoza region wineries are only open by appointment, so be sure to have a day’s worth of wine tours booked in advance for your itinerary. Be sure not to skip over the city of Mendoza, as there are many wine tasting rooms featuring wines from the region and selling limited releases and other rarities not readily available at the wineries.
Costaflores s/n, Cobos, M5507 Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
Cavas Wine Lodge is the quintessential romantic retreat. Located on a secluded vineyard in the heart of Mendoza’s wine country, the peaceful property offers 17 very private villas, which appear to have grown organically amid the 55-acre working vineyard. The boutique hotel is named after its 3,000-bottle wine cellar, where the in-house sommelier hosts complimentary wine tastings each evening. There’s also a tranquil spa, delicious restaurant and, during the February through April harvest, an array of exciting activities at the lodge.

The hotel’s dynamic husband-and-wife owners, Cecilia Diaz Chuit and Martin Rigal, personally attend to guests with a warmth that permeates the entire experience. Designed for romantic getaways, each villa has a secluded sun deck with a panoramic view of the snowcapped Andes Mountains, plus a wood-burning fireplace and a private plunge pool.
Monte Caseros 2625, M5522 Coquimbito, Mendoza, Argentina
You don’t need to be a wine enthusiast to fall in love with this quirky museum. The Museo del Vino, or Wine Museum, is located in one of Mendoza’s most historic wineries, Bodega La Rural. It was founded by the Rutini family in 1885. In 1945, one of the Rutini sons dreamed of opening a wine museum and began collecting wine artifacts. Thirty years later his nephew realized this vision, founding the Museo del Vino, which showcases over 5,000 winemaking and viticulture relics that highlight the region’s wine heritage. The museum houses crude machinery, cooperage tools, horse carts and carriages, colonial mud amphorae, laboratory equipment, antique presses and other elements that reflect the evolution of winemaking in Mendoza. Museo del Vino attracts over 66,000 visitors per year, making Bodega La Rural the most visited winery in all of Argentina. Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipú, Mendoza; museo@bodegalarural.com.ar; +54 261 497 2013 ext. 125
Ruta Provincial 15 km 23, M5509 Perdriel - Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
Possibly one of the most recognized malbec wine labels by the American market, Bodega Norton is one of Mendoza’s most prolific wineries. Founded in 1895 by the Englishmen Edmund James Palmer Norton, the winery has grown significantly under its Austrian management since 1989. Each year, Bodega Norton continues to garner serious accolades for its wines and talented winemakers. During the harvest season, Bodega Norton offers a variety of experiences for wine lovers to get their hands dirty in the vineyard. You can harvest the grapes, picking them off the vine and tasting the flavors of the different grape clusters. You can also choose to be a winemaker for the day, creating your own “blend” of wine, combining varietals and discovering their aromas, textures and complexity. Both experiences require 24-hour advance reservation. Ruta 15, km 23.5, Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza; +54 261 490 9700
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