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DIY Mendoza Winery Tour

Cover Image for DIY Mendoza Winery Tour

Hey everyone! Lauren here to tell you about our experience going to wineries around Mendoza with our lovely brother Josh!

The Planning Stage

In Mendoza, me, Gerrod, and Gerrod’s brother Josh stayed at an AirBnB. We knew we wanted to visit wineries, and the man who let us into our place said we could hire him for the day to drive us around to the different wineries! Since many of the tours seemed like they wouldn’t be as flexible or feel as personal, we opted to take him up on his offer!

Since we didn’t do a tour, this meant we needed to figure out which wineries we wanted to go them, and had to call them to make a reservation! This was a bit more work, but many wineries had a phone representative that spoke English which made it a bit easier. We also decided we wanted to visit an olive oil production place which did not require a reservation, but only gave one tour a day in English which did not fit into our schedule. Since we still wanted to tour the facility, we decided we would give the Spanish tour a try.

Getting Ready

In order to get ready for the day, we woke up around 7:30 am since Josh and I wanted to look cute for the winery tours. Oh, and because the three of us all had to share one shower.

We ate some “facturas” aka pastries we bought the night before at a local bakery, and our driver Javier picked us up around 8:55am.

Winery 1: Bodega Lagarde

Our first winery tour was at 9:30am at Bodega Lagarde. When we arrived for a 9:30 am tour, it was very clear that we were the first and only people that were crazy enough to start drinking wine at 9:30 in the morning. However, it was the only way we could piece together our day and visit 3 wineries and an olive oil factory.

Map of Bodega Lagarde

Our tour guide Veronica welcomed us and gave us time to take photos before beginning on the tour. Her English was amazing, which made her explanation of the entire wine making process easy to understand, especially since it was the first time any of us had toured a winery.

Grape vines at Bodega Lagarde

Casks at Bodega Lagarde

She walked us through the metal maceration room, cask room, and even explained the process for corking a champagne bottle. After the tour we headed to the wine tasting room.

There were 3 different levels of wine to try, and we each got to taste 4 different wines. Josh and I tasted the reserve/medium quality wines, which cost 450 pesos, including the tour. The Guarda Malbec DOC was DELICIOUS and was both Josh and I’s favorite.

Our first wine tasting at Bodega Lagarde

Gerrod decided to taste the premium wines, which cost 600 pesos including the tour. He tried a Cabernet Sauvignon, which was amazing and almost tasted like you were eating a very flavorful salad. We also tasted three different sparkling wines, sweet, normal, and special wine that was only sold onsite that was made with Pinot Noir grapes.

Olive Oil Factory: Maguay Oliveria

After finishing our tasting at Bodega Lagarde, we went to Maguay Oliveria, a local family owned olive oil factory. As I mentioned before, we had the tour in Spanish, because the only English speaking tour was at 1:00pm which didn’t fit into our schedule.

We asked our guide to speak slowly and clearly, and our she did a great job because we understood her! We learned cool facts about the olive oil making process such as olive plants are considered young if they are less than 80 years old. We also learned that both black and green olives come from the same plant and just differ in ripeness. She explained the fermentation process which included a span of time in salt water and rotating of barrels 2 times a week for 10 months.

Olive Trees at Maguay Oliveria

After our tour, we went in to do a tasting! We tasted 5 different types of oil and 7 different types of olives. The flavor was amazing! I had never tasted such flavorful olive oil in my entire life. She also gave us a taste of a Merlot/Malbec blend and a white Blanco Dulce Natural wines. The tour and tasting only cost us 100 pesos per person!

Olive and Olive Oil tasting at Maguay Oliveria

Josh and I bought some olive oil for our moms for christmas because it was so tasty!

A Little Hiccup: Argentinian Police

Afterward our olive oil tasting we hopped back in the car with Javier and headed to our next winery! On our way, we got stopped at a police checkpoint. It was taking longer than expected, and it turns out Javier got a ticket because his headlights weren't on! The ticket cost 4,000 pesos!!! It was very sunny out, and was midday but apparently in Argentina it is a law that you always have to have your headlights on which seems dumb.

Winery 2: Ruca Malen and a Delicious Meal

After our driver got ticketed by the police, we continued our drive to our next winery, Bodega Ruca Malen for lunch.

The scenery around the winery was stunning! Our tour started by walking out the the vineyard and visiting the small garden, where apparently a large portion of our upcoming lunch was grown. Apparently at Ruca Malen, they buy a large portion of their wine making grapes, and only produce 10% of what they need!

The grape fields at Ruca Malen

Our guide then took us to the cask room and explained more of the wine making process. Her English was not quite as good, but luckily we had a good idea of the process by that point.

After our tour we sat down for our lunch and wine tasting! The lunch included 7 different courses with 7 different wine pairings. Gerrod called some of the food rabbit food, but the wine and food were delicious!

Steak and wine pairing at Ruca Malen

The tastings were very generous pours, and towards the end of our meal we were feeling a little bit drunk. After our meal we paid for our meal, which was 2300 pesos per person and took plenty of photos outside to capture the beauty of the property.

Josh, Gerrod, and Lauren at Ruca Malen

Winery 3: Melipal

Next, we all headed to our last winery for the day, Bodega Melipal. When we arrived we weren’t sure where to enter and accidentally came through the back door. Oops!

Outside of Melipal

After we checked in for the tour, we were joined on the tour by a couple from Tennessee and our guide took us to the vineyard. Our guide spoke amazing English, and told us some facts that we didn’t learn on our previous tours.

Our guide informed us that the vineyard we were in were considered babies since they were only planted in 2010. She also told us about the different grape varieties and how the different leaves could help you determine what type of grape the plant was! A three lobed grape leaf in this vineyard was a Malbec variety and a five lobed leaf was a Cabernet Sauvignon variety!

She next showed us the metal fermentation tanks and the cask room, and soon we were in the tasting room. We tasted 4 different types of wines, and had some great discussions with our guide and the couple from Tennessee. After staying a little longer than intended, we took some pictures and got back in the car with Javier and headed back to our Airbnb.

The wine cellar at Melipal

Gerrod, Lauren, and Josh at Melipal wine tasting

Post Wine Nap Time

I struggled to stay awake on our ride back to our Airbnb, and may have even fallen asleep on Gerrod for awhile. After we finally arrived back at our Airbnb, we paid Javier our agreed upon 4500 pesos, and gave him an additional 500 because he got a ticket and we felt bad that we stayed a little later than intended at our last winery. He also did an outstanding job!

Pool Photo Shoot

After getting back to our Airbnb, we drank some of the Melipal wine we purchased by the pool and took some awesome photos. The lighting on the rooftop was just perfect!

Lauren and Gerrod taking photos by the pool


After hanging out on the roof for awhile, we headed to dinner at a place Javier recommended called Parrilla. Gerrod ordered an entree that consisted of a bunch of different meats, and was A LOT of food. After dinner, it didn't take long before we decided to go to bed.

Arriving at Parrilla

Not Enough Time in Mendoza

Of all the places we went in South America, I felt like we needed much more time in Mendoza. Others we met told us about rafting and hiking adventures that they did in Mendoza that sounded amazing, but we simply did not have time to do any of them! There are also so many more delicious wineries to visit. Hopefully one day we can return and do some of the stuff we missed out on!

Until next time!

Lauren (and Gerrod)

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