Tornado Tour of South America – Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil
A day exploring the vineyards around Chacras de Coria and the squares of Mendoza.
The capital of the province of the same name, Mendoza, is a popular stop on the road from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Tourists come to visit the vineyards and enjoy adventurous activities like climbing Aconcagua one of the Seven Summits.
With one day to tour the area, we were on a tight schedule. We flew direct with LAN from Buenos Aires to Mendoza. On arrival we took a 45 minute taxi ride to our hotel, Finca Adalgisa.
Our first evening we relaxed, had dinner in the hotel and chatted with the guests/owner.
The next day after a delicious buffet breakfast we started on our tour of the neighboring vineyards. We jumped on some hotel bicycles and headed into the town, Chacras de Coria according to an itinerary the receptionist Melissa helped us plan. The streets were quiet and the town was very calm. Even the cars drove by slowly as if they were in no rush.
A short relaxing ride and we had arrived at our first vineyard, a family run boutique winery. As we were early they were still closed for tours, but I spoke with one of the owners, Mrs. Diana Maures, explaining we had limited time and she gave us a brief tour.
They make around 45,000 bottles a year with grapes from their vineyard 35 km away. Most of their production is for export to the US and Europe.
It was interesting to see the large underground concrete tanks that are used to ferment the wine.
Nearby was a larger vineyard that can be traced back to 1883, with the current winery built in 1921.
We arranged for a tour that included a tasting at the end (60 pesos ea.). Our guide took us to the vineyard and showed us the grapes that they use. Next we observed the active processing center where the grapes are sorted and crushed. We saw the modern stainless steel tanks used to the ferment the wine as well as the old concrete ones. Down in the artistically lit cellar, we found a large storage of different vintages.
Our tasting included three types of wine, a Malbec, Cabernet and a blend. Bread, cheese and raisins were served as well. The Malbec was the most flavorful and the Cabernet was the least.
Cycling back to the hotel in a hurry, we checked out and took a taxi to the Mendoza bus station. We paid the driver to also show us around the city center.
Arriving into the center, we noticed deep trenches on the side of the road which is an irrigation system that is traced back to the indigenous Huarpes. This helps water the many trees lining the small colonial streets.
We wanted to visit Parque San Martin, but due to some protest the park was closed.
We stopped at Independence Square which had a large fountain in the center. On the other side of the square was a cornered off area for more protestors.
Around the square are four smaller squares in each corner. We drove by Plaza Italia, Plaza Chile, and Plaza San Martin which were not as interesting or famous as Plaza Espana.
This plaza is famous for the tiled fountain and benches. In the main statue, the older woman represents Spain while the younger one represents Argentina.
The Basilica de San Fransisco was nearby so we went in for a look. Built in 1875, the church holds the staff of General José de San Martín as well as his and his family’s mausoleum.
Finishing our tour, we headed to the bus station where we awaited our journey to Chile!