Argentina's Winemaking Regions
Select a region below and learn more
Tucked away in the northeast corner of Argentina, Salta claims the world's highest elevation vineyards that soar up to over 9,000 feet. The rocky terroir, high desert climate, and high day-to-night temperature fluctuations create an ideal environment for the Torrontes grape. The center of all wine production is in Cafayate, a 4-hour round-trip from the city of Salta, with over two dozen wineries.
Bordering Chile, Catamarca is defined by high plateaus and fertile valleys and boasts around 7,500 acres of vineyards. With both stony and sandy soils, the best viticultural areas are in the east: Tinogasta, Santa Maria and Fiambala. Varietals that stand out in this region are Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Bonarda, and Torrontes.
Vines have been planted here since 1591, making it the oldest wine-producing region in Argentina. Winemakers are rewarded with very little rain, high temperatures and low humidity in La Rioja. This area is thought to be responsible for the well-known Riojano strain of the Torrontes grape. Another emblematic Argentine grape, Bonarda, also grows extremely well here, as does Syrah.
San Juan is Argentina's second largest growing region with approximately 125,000 acres planted to vine. The region consists of a set of valleys ranging in elevation from 1,950-4,450 feet above sea level. San Juan enjoys a very hot and dry climate that is optimal for grapes such as Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Bonarda also do well here, as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier for whites.
With over 1,000 wineries, Mendoza produces roughly 80% of all Argentina's wine. Vineyard altitudes range from 2,000-4,700 feet above sea level. At these high elevations, the air temperature stays relatively cool, yet the vines receive significantly higher amounts of solar radiation than vines at sea level. Grapes here have the longest "hang-time" in the world, which creates balanced wines with ripe fruit flavors and smooth tannins. Mendoza was voted "Wine Region of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast magazine (2008). Visit "Mendoza: Top 10 Facts" to learn more about this exciting region.
The first vineyards in this relatively new region were planted in 1999. In Neuquén, the Andes begin to fade away and the vineyards only peak around 900 feel above sea level. Here it's all about latitude, not altitude. By pushing the southern boundary of its vineyards as far as the 42nd parallel, this Patagonian province makes wines in a cool-climate tradition. Despite the cooler climate about 85% of the vines here are dedicated to red grapes, specifically Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Malbec. For whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay also do quite well in this semi-arid province.
Situated in the vast, arid, and wild Patagonian plateau, Rio Negro also boasts a dry climate with little rain. Summers are characterized by warm days and very cool nights. With lower vineyard elevations than some of its sister regions (only about 800 feet above sea level, many Rio Negro wines are typical of cooler climates like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.