Mendoza: Argentina's Premier Wine Region Profiled

Ask any wine lover about wines from Argentina, and you'll probably get one of two answers – malbec or Mendoza.  Just as wines made from the malbec grape are associated with Argentina, the country that made them great, Mendoza's influence on Argentina's wine industry is so strong that many people focus exclusively on this region.

view counter

Mendoza History

Spanish colonists brought grapevines to Argentina over 450 years ago.  By the late 16th century, Argentina's wine industry was firmly established.    When French wine grape varieties, including malbec and chardonnay, arrived in Mendoza in the 1860s, winemaking expanded accordingly.  Waves of immigration from Europe brought new residents to Argentina, many of whom brought with them a love of wine and experience in winemaking.  When the railroad from Buenos Aires to Mendoza was built in 1885, Mendoza's winemakers were able to ramp up production and ship their wines to Argentina's capital city.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

Mendoza's wine industry continued to thrive until the Great Depression and the political and economic troubles that followed it.  Only in the 1970s did Mendoza's wine industry start to expand once again, mainly producing table wines for consumption within Argentina.  Malbec lost popularity during this period, and nearly all the malbec vines in Argentina were pulled.

Everything changed in the 1980s when oenologists began to visit Argentina.  California oenologist Paul Hobbs worked with Mendoza wine pioneer Nicolás Catena.  Other wine consultants also came to Mendoza and helped to transform the area into Argentina's flagship wine region.  Winemakers modernized their equipment and focused on production of quality wines.  Foreign wine companies began to invest in Mendoza vineyards, and exports soared.

Today Mendoza is the leading wine region in Argentina, accounting for about 80 percent of the country's wine production.  While Mendoza's signature malbec wines take pride of place, many other wine grape varieties thrive here, and innovative winemakers are taking advantage of the region's unique combination of climate, altitude and terroirs.  The results include some of the world's best-value quality wines.