Argentina’s Northern Wine Region: Cafayate
Travelers unfamiliar with Mendoza, Argentina often enter Mendoza city with the expectation that mariachi bands and taco stands will line the city streets. When that’s the case, the small town pace and European vibe of central Argentina can come as quite a shock.
However, just 800 miles to the northeast, in the southern corner of the Salta Province a little town called Cafayate offers a strong pulse of South American culture and it just so happens to be located in the prestigious Calchaquíes Valley, the primary winemaking zone of Argentina’s Northern Region.
Ask any Argentine native and they’ll tell you that the further north you travel, the slower things move. The bustling pace of city live slowly dissipates and is replaced by a more rural tranquilidad (calm). With one central plaza located in the heart of Cafayate City, the small town life orbits around a central gathering place – as is the style of South American cities.
The plaza is lined by numerous artisan shops with friendly artists peddling goods that are distinctly different than the souvenirs found in Mendoza and Buenos Aires. Given the influences of Peru and Bolivia, artisan goods include vibrantly colored textiles, hand-woven tapestries, alpaca sweaters, and jewelry featuring Aguayo, a traditional cloth distinguished by its colorful threads.
A wealth of restaurants populate the downtown streets and serve up traditional Argentine fare, though a few new items appear on the menus including tamales, spicy salsa, empanadas Salteños (with potato cubes and green onion), as well as Torrontés – the region’s most outstanding varietal. Many local restaurants even offer live folklore music, typical of this corner of the country.
Wines & Wineries of Cafayate
The Calchaquíes Valley is home to approximately 50 wineries, the majority of which are able to coexist in relatively close quarters. In fact, some wineries are located directly within downtown Cafayate, while others are only a short walk or bike ride away. In comparison, a tour through the Mendoza wine region generally necessitates a car and several hours to reach the wineries located in the Uco Valley.
Close distances mean that zealous wine lovers can fit in up to 5 winery visits per day, though 2-3 wine tastings would make for a much more enjoyable pace. Roads are not well marked, meaning that visitors will need a driver (designated driver for extended tastings).
Our team of highly passionate, skilled trip planners wants to get to know you so we can construct the perfect getaway. We pull from our large network of local winemakers, adventurers, chefs, artists and more to introduce you to a side of Mendoza, Argentina that you won’t see with any other tour agency.
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