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Argentina is known for its wine, and around 70% of it comes from just one region: Mendoza!
Mendoza is in western Argentina and it’s a beautiful region that’s home to well over 1,000 wineries, so for first-timers, it can be pretty difficult to know where to start. For that reason, we definitely think it’s worth taking a wine tour, as well as the fact that you also get to learn so much about Argentinian wine-making and culture along the way.
As big wine lovers, Bailey and I just had to visit Mendoza when we were in Argentina, and we loved it here. In fact, we think it’s one of the best places to visit in Argentina. We’ve done wine tours all over the world but this is definitely one of the best wine regions we’ve ever visited, and we went to a ton of wineries during our stay.
So if you’re ready to discover Mendoza’s best Chardonnays, Malbecs, and Torrontés, then stay tuned for our list of the 8 best wine tours in Mendoza for first-time visitors!
Don’t have time to read the full article? Here are our absolute favorite wine tours in Mendoza:
- For a luxury experience, this small group tour takes you to 3-4 different wineries and includes a gourmet meal.
- If you want to learn about the history of Argentina’s wine-making, this tour goes to the Catena Zapata winery which played a huge role in popularizing Malbec wines.
- To really enjoy the scenery plus sample great wine, we love this cycling winery tour!
About the Mendoza Wine Region
Mendoza was the first winemaking region in Argentina, and it’s still by far the most prominent. Over 70% of Argentinian wine comes from Mendoza. It’s estimated that Argentina produces around 10% of the world’s wine, so basically, a LOT of wine comes out of this region.
In fact, there are over 1,400 square kilometers (540 square miles) of vineyards here.
Since we’re talking about Argentina here, it should come as no surprise that Mendoza is famous for its rich and flavorful Malbec wines. However, it’s also well known for producing excellent Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Torrontés. Torrontés is actually pretty hard to find in most parts of the world since it’s quite a rare grape, so make sure that you sample some while you’re here.
Mendoza is the name of both the city and the province. You can stay in either the city or at a vineyard if you’re looking for something luxe, and then there are three main regions to explore: Maipu, Luján de Cuyo, and the Uco Valley.
The Maipu Valley is the easiest to visit, and you can even tour it on a bicycle. This region isn’t quite as scenic as the other two, but we had so much fun exploring the wineries (or bodegas, to use the local term) by bike.
Meanwhile, Lujan de Cuyo is super picturesque with beautiful views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. It’s roughly a 30-minute drive from Mendoza, so you’re better off taking a tour unless someone in your group feels like playing designated driver (which we’re guessing they won’t!).
And last but not least, Uco Valley is the newest of the three wine regions, and it’s also very beautiful. However, it’s the trickiest to get to, and lots of the wineries require advanced reservations, which is another big benefit to taking a wine tour!
Best Wine Tours in Mendoza
1. All Day, Small Group, Luxury Wine Tour with Gourmet Lunch
We think that this luxury wine tour is a fantastic way to experience Mendoza’s amazing wineries. One thing that we like about it is that it doesn’t stick to one prescribed list of bodegas – it takes you to different ones in either the Uco Valley or Lujan de Cuyo, depending on the day. We did this tour, and we had a blast in the Uco Valley!
You’ll enjoy five expert-led tastings at some of the best bodegas in Mendoza, so you’ll discover a lot about the art of winemaking and understand what really makes a good Malbec! Your local guide will also teach you a lot about the area’s history, what life is like here today, and share a lot of insight into Argentina’s famous wine culture.
We also love the fact that this tour takes you to such a great range of wineries, from tiny boutique bodegas to larger, well-known vineyards. You get to try at least 3 wines at each bodega, and the pours are usually generous, so rest assured you’ll get more than your fill of wine on this tour!
Perhaps our favorite thing about this tour, though, is that you get a delicious gourmet lunch at one of the bodegas, which of course, you’ll enjoy alongside some top-quality Mendoza wine.
It’s also a small group tour, so you can really get to know your fellow wine lovers over the course of the day. In fact, we think that this is the best option for those visiting Mendoza solo because you get such a personal experience. We didn’t feel like we were just being driven from winery to winery. We felt like we were out exploring with friends. It made the whole day so much more fun.
This tour costs $170 USD, including hotel pickup and dropoff, and it’s available every day of the week. It’s a full-day experience that lasts for around 8 hours, so you can expect to be picked up sometime around 9 am. The exact time will be confirmed after booking, though, since it depends on where you’re staying and the itinerary for the day.
There’s also a private option available for this tour. It costs $240 USD per person and allows you to customize the whole day entirely to your liking, so you can choose the region you explore and even pick some wineries if you have any in mind. It lasts for 6 hours rather than 8, and you can also enjoy greater flexibility with your start times, which is ideal if you don’t like waking up early.
To visit a range of Mendoza’s amazing wineries, book this all-day luxury wine tour online here.
2. Trapiche Winery Tasting and El Enemigo Lunch
This wine tour is all about quality over quantity. Unlike other tours, you only visit two wineries this time, but they are two of the most famous and highly regarded wineries in Mendoza.
First, you’ll visit Trapiche for an in-depth tasting of their most prestigious and exclusive wines. Trapiche is the largest wine producer in the whole of Argentina, so this is truly a premium tasting experience.
Not only is it the biggest, but Trapiche is also one of the most celebrated and historic wineries in Mendoza. It was founded in 1883 and has won a ton of awards. In fact, it has been named “The Best Wine Producer in Argentina” not once but twice by the International Wine and Spirit Competition. Basically, it’s a must-visit while you’re in Mendoza!
Then, you’ll head to El Enemigo at the Casa Vigil for an amazing 3-course gourmet lunch, which is paired with some of the estate’s finest wines. El Enemigo is a super well-known restaurant, and the wines here are also famous for their quality, so this is a real treat.
If you’re passionate about food and wine and are looking to experience the very best that Mendoza has to offer, then this tour really is perfect. It costs $200 USD per person, lasts for around 6 hours, and is available every day except Sunday. You’ll be picked up at around 10 am, and you get your own private driver on top of everything else we’ve mentioned, which is a nice touch!
This tour is very popular and tends to sell out quickly. To make sure you don’t miss out, go ahead and reserve this experience in advance here.
3. Catena Zapata Winery and Paired Lunch at El Enemigo Winery
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Argentinian winemaking, then this tour is an excellent choice. You’ll pay a visit to the Catena Zapata winery, which was founded in 1902 and played a huge role in making Malbec so popular in Argentina – and as a result, all over the world.
Catena Zapata is not only a must-visit for Malbec lovers, its high altitude also means you get amazing views of the Andes from here! You’ll enjoy a tasting session here and discover why this winery is so celebrated, and hear more about the Catena Zapata family, who have helped make Argentinian wine what it is today. You also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery, which is styled after a Mayan pyramid.
Then, it’s onto El Enemigo, where you’ll enjoy a 3-course lunch with wine pairings. And we’re not just talking about your typical cheese board, either, as much as we do enjoy those! Nope, you get a gourmet dining experience where all the food is beautifully plated and made from local produce.
This tour costs $280 USD per person and includes private transport, as well as your food, tastings, and guided tour of Catena Zapata. It’s available from Tuesday to Saturday and lasts for roughly 6 hours.
To discover the history of winemaking in Argentina, book this Catena Zapata Winery and Lunch Tour here.
4. Prestigious wineries of Uco Valley luxury tasting and gourmet lunch
The Uco Valley is an hour south of Mendoza, so the best way to explore it is with a tour! And if you’re looking to get off the beaten tourist path and discover some unique bodegas in this beautiful area, then this private wine tour is the one for you.
You’ll be with a local guide who will take you to three of the Uco Valley’s hidden gems, so there won’t be any crowds to contend with. Plus, since it’s a private tour, it will just be you and your group, so you’ll have the undivided attention of your guide and the sommeliers at each winery.
You can just sit back and enjoy learning about some of Mendoza’s most unique wines, and you’ll also get a guided tour of at least one of the vineyards.
The itinerary for this tour isn’t set in stone, so the wineries you visit will depend on the day that you go, but they’ll definitely be boutique and family-owned. You also get a cheese board to enjoy along the way, but that’s certainly not all, you get a 5-course gourmet lunch, too!
The lunch will usually be at Domaine Bousquet, which is known for its organic wines and gorgeous stone architecture. You’ll get amazing views of the Tupungato volcano as you enjoy your chef-prepared lunch, which of course will be paired with some of the bodega’s top wines.
The price of this tour per person depends on the size of your group. It’s $240 USD per person for two, $210 USD per person for 3-4 people, or $180 USD each for 5-8 people. We think it’s a fantastic option if you’re visiting Mendoza with a group, or want a romantic day out as a couple! The price includes hotel pickup and drop off, which will be at around 8 am, and the tour is normally available every day except Monday.
If you want to discover the hidden gems in Uco Valley, book this Prestigious Wineries of Uco Valley Tour here.
5. Uco Valley Wineries day with a private driver
Mendoza can be pretty romantic, so if you’re looking for a perfect day out as a couple, then you can choose the all-inclusive version of this Uco Valley tour.
You’ll have a private driver who will take you to three different wineries. At two of them, you’ll enjoy a wine tasting and at Domaine Bousquet, you’ll enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch with wine pairings.
We love the fact that each of the wineries you visit on this tour has its own unique feel. Some are more upscale, while others are laid back. You’ll even get to visit Bodega Salentein which, once inside, makes you feel like you’re in a majestic cathedral!
This option is perfect if you’re on a romantic trip to Mendoza, and it costs $560 USD per couple including all transport, food, and wine.
However, if you’re visiting with a group of friends and already have some wineries in mind, then you can choose the second option. This means you’ll get a private driver and plenty of recommendations on where to go, but you’re in control of which wineries you visit. You also get to choose how long you spend at each bodega, where you eat, and how many spots you visit.
This option costs $280 USD for a group of up to 4 people, so we think it’s a good choice for groups of friends looking to explore the Uco Valley. However, do be aware that it doesn’t include food and wine tastings, so you’ll need to pay for those on the day.
Both options are usually available every day and start at around 9 am. It’s about an hour’s drive from the city of Mendoza to the Uco Valley, and then you get to spend around 6 hours there, so expect the tour to last 8-9 hours in total.
For a romantic day of wine tasting and gourmet food, book this Uco Valley Wineries day in advance here.
6. Half-day Winery Tour
If you’re arriving in Mendoza in the morning, then we think that this half-day winery tour is the perfect way to spend your afternoon.
You’ll leave at around 2 pm from either the meeting point or your hotel and head to your first vineyard where you’ll go behind the scenes and learn all about the winemaking process. You’ll get to see what happens in a working winery and visit the storage cellar. The visit ends with a tasting.
You’ll then visit another artisan bodega and an olive oil factory for a tour and a tasting because, believe it or not, there’s even more to Mendoza than wine! The soil here is also perfect for growing olives, and at the factory, you can try different local artisan products and even buy some to take home if you like.
The final tasting of the tour will be at a bodega that specializes in sweet wines, which we think is a nice touch. Mendoza is best known for its dry red wines, so we like the fact that this tour takes you to a local spot that does things a little differently. Then, you’ll be dropped back in Mendoza or at your hotel in the evening, depending on what your plans are.
The tour costs $45 USD per person including hotel pickup and dropoff, transport, and all of your tastings. We think it’s a great introduction to Mendoza and it’s also a good choice for budget travelers since it’s quite a bit cheaper than most other tours on this list.
Enjoy this budget-friendly experience by booking this half-day winery tour online here.
7. Uco Valley Private Wine Experience
In general, the Uco Valley is the best of Mendoza’s three wine regions. A lot of the best quality wine can be found here, thanks to its unique ecosystem. Plus, it’s also close to the foot of the Andes mountains, so the views are hard to beat. So why not explore it in style with this private wine experience?
This tour is run by a small local company who are super passionate about sharing not only Mendoza’s fantastic wine but also Argentinian culture in general. It’s also about the furthest thing from a cookie-cutter tour as you can get because the wineries are selected each day to make sure that you get to meet the owners and talk about their wine with them.
Plus, the guides really try to show you a nice mix of places so you get to experience both the area’s more modern wineries and traditional bodegas.
We also love the fact that for lunch your guides will make sure you avoid the tourist traps and take you to a local hotspot that serves authentic Mendozan food. Personally, I always love getting off the beaten track and discovering where local people actually like to eat, so this is a big bonus in my eyes!
This tour costs $230 USD per person, including lunch. It starts at around 9 am and lasts for 8 hours, and it’s available every day of the week except Monday.
Book this Uco Valley Private Wine Experience here to enjoy Mendoza wine and Argentinian culture guided by locals who are passionate about both!
8. Bike Tour in Mendoza Wine Country
One of the best things that we did in Mendoza was a cycling tour! I find that you get to appreciate the scenery so much more when you’re on a bike, but you can still cover a lot of ground and visit plenty of bodegas.
This bike tour takes you from Mendoza to Vistalba, a cute little town in the Lujan de Cuyo region with plenty of charming cottages and cobbled streets. Then, you’ll grab your bike and go cycling through the countryside to visit three of Lujan de Coyo’s best-known wineries.
You’ll get to do a tasting at each one as you enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about each bodega’s unique wine-making process. You also get to have lunch at one of the wineries, which makes the day even better!
The cycling on this tour is very easy and the route is largely flat, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not a pro cyclist. It’s suitable for pretty much all fitness levels, and there’s not a ton of traffic to contend with, either.
The tour costs $180 USD per person and it only runs on Thursdays and Saturdays. It’s a half-day tour and it starts at around 8 am, lasting for roughly 5 hours. It’s fairly short and sweet, but you do get a full wine tour experience, as well as a delicious lunch! Then, you can be back at your hotel in time for a siesta after all of that wine.
The tour is very popular and tends to fill up quickly so make sure to book your spot on this Bike Tour in advance here!
Related Read: One of our other favorite destinations in Argentina is Ushuaia. This beautiful spot is the southernmost city in the world and a must-visit for nature lovers, history buffs, and foodies.
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Where to Stay in Mendoza, Argentina
With so many glasses of wine awaiting you, you’ll need a place to stay in Mendoza. There are so many choices for accommodations, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Let me help you narrow it down to my top three pics for budget, mid-range, and luxury travelers!
Park Hyatt Mendoza Hotel – $$$
The Park Hyatt Mendoza Hotel is a 5-star hotel right in front of Independencia Square in a really impressive building. It’s just as nice inside with stylish, elegant décor in all the bright and spacious rooms. There are also 3 restaurants, a casino, and a spa.
The “standard” room has a king-size bed, walk-in shower, large bathtub, and flat-screen TV. You can opt for city or mountain views – both are great options! There’s also a nice pool and gym facility to enjoy. Rooms typically start around $400 USD per night, but I’ve found even cheaper than that on Booking.com.
Hotel Nutibara – $$
Mid-range travelers will love the convenience of the downtown location of Hotel Nutibara. Simply walk out the doors and start exploring or find a great restaurant.
The rooms are simple, but have everything you need for about $80 USD nightly. A huge plus is the private outdoor swimming pool! Check availability and book a room here.
Windmill Hostel – $
Walking distance to the five central plazas in Mendoza, Windmill Hostel puts you close to the heart of the city. It’s inside a bright, purple building so you can’t miss it and this hostel has the friendliest staff! It’s also been named “Best Hostel in Mendoza” several times, so you know it’s a good pick!
You can grab a bed in a dorm room for around $20 USD or a private room with a double bed for around $55 USD. Breakfast is included (and it’s known for being really good!) and there are even two super-friendly dogs. Make a reservation today on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
Planning your Trip to Argentina
Accommodation in Argentina
Booking accommodation is one of the biggest aspects of your trip, and we should know as we stay in a new hotel up to 40 times per year! Funny enough, we make 99% of these bookings on one website and that’s Booking.com – and there are a few reasons why we use this site!
Number one is the website is easy to use and sorts accommodation options. That takes the stress out of planning which honestly still affects us and we do it more than not.
Second, is the price guarantee. We have literally booked a hotel months before and then 1 week out found it cheaper (we always do a quick search), and they’ll match that price from anyone’s website including the hotels!
And third, is the Genius loyalty program. If you make a certain amount of bookings per year you get a Genius discount. We are level-two geniuses because we make more than 5 a year. At participating hotels, we get things like free breakfast included, early check-in, and up to 15% off.
You can check out all their accommodation options throughout Argentina!
Renting a car in Argentina
We enjoyed a rental car for our second trip to Argentina when we travelled in Patagonia – and wow, what a way to travel! But the best part was that we only paid $40 USD per day for a 5-person sedan!
But how? Well, if you’re renting a car in Argentina, the cheapest company is Discover Cars. We often get questions from readers asking us if the website is fake because it seems too cheap! It’s a great website and the one we used for our rental.
If you do want to compare prices (and you should), do a quick search on Airport Car Rentals too. They’re another big competitor and each company often has its own deals to offer!
Tours in Argentina
Tours are a tricky one. We love booking online because we can check reviews of that exact tour but they can be pricier than booking directly in person. So for this, we often do it 50/50 – half of the time in person and the other half of the time we book tours online in advance.
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
A wine tour is a must-do while in Mendoza. Besides getting to sample some of the most popular types of wine in the world, you’ll also get to enjoy the area’s hospitality and the stunning mountain scenery. Hopefully, this article has helped you pick out the tour that’s perfect for you!
If you’re heading to Argentina or a country nearby soon, make sure to check out all our other blogs about South America. We’ve spent a lot of time traveling around this part of the world and can help you find the off-the-beaten-path spots that will make your trip especially memorable.