Bikes and Wine, Mendoza

Mendoza Wine Tour

I’ve already mentioned our five days in beautiful, peaceful Mendoza, right in the heart of Argentina’s wine-region, but I purposefully left the highlight for a post all on it’s own! On the Friday, we packed a lunch and took a bus outside of town to Maipu, a small neighbourhood packed full of vineyards where we rented bikes and set off on a wine tasting tour.

Mendoza Wine Bike Tour

On a recommendation, we hired the bikes at Mr Hugo’s – a company that give a free bottle of wine if you rent with them (although, they don’t advertise that fact and you will most likely need to remind them when you return the bikes). Mr Hugo himself greeted us, a lovely old man with Mendoza Wine Tour a great selection of bikes, two adorable dogs and a kitten! The company had a really cosy, family feel with a big garden to relax in, so I was really glad we rented with them.

Mrs Hugo gave us a discount card for a free wine tasting at nearby shop La Botella, so of course we started there, and by 11am on a Friday morning found ourselves seated at a table with a generous portion of wine each. The discount was for one tasting for free, or three tastings for 20 pesos, so we went for the second option and actually wound up with fiMendoza Wine Tour - La Botellave tastings plus some bread and olive oil to snack on (so we could drink wine before noon guilt-free!). The store manager was an absolutely lovely man who really just wanted to show off his great wine collection – he chatted with us about the football as we tried a local Torrontes, Malbec, Merlot and another organic Malbec, then he produced his pride and joy; his own homemade wine (“artisanal“) which he poured for us from a china bottle in the shape of a penguin (because penguins stomp their feet, the way he stomps his feet on the grapes to make the wine). Although wine connoisseurs would probably say this wasn’t wine, it tasted like vimto or sugary, wine-flavoured syrup, so I absolutely loved it! We even returned at the end of the day to take the manager up on his “promo” of three bottles for 100 pesos (about £7), and picked up two bottles of his homemade stuff along with a Torrontes.

La Botella was reasonably close to Domiciano, one of the two biggest vineyards in town, so we headed there next and paid 50 pesos each for aMendoza Wine Tour - Domiciano tour of the vineyard and a wine tasting. The tour was pretty interesting, with our friendly guide showing us the huge tanks where the wine is fermented and stored. Downstairs, we stopped into the cellar to smell the oak barrels where the vineyard’s prize malbec was ageing (they only make about two hundred bottles a year, so it’s exclusive stuff). The room smelled richly of wood and wine, and our guide explained that when people smell vanilla, chocolate or whatever else in a glass of red, the smell actually comes from the smell of the oak barrel. We tried three more wines, and by this point I was already pleasantly relaxed enough to stop writing down the names so I have no idea what it was we tasted!

The day was a fantastic one for cycling, with a crisp, autumnal chill in the air but bright sunshine and clear skies, and I could have enjoyed myself if all we’d done was cycle around between the orange and rMendoza Wine Tour ed trees. But, the tastings were a definite bonus to such a lovely day out! We headed down a quiet, dusty street lined with trees to Entre Olivos, not a vineyard this time but a small olive oil factory. We had lunch in the garden behind the shop, surrounded by olive trees, and then headed inside for a tasting which involved a whole lot more than olive oil. We tried different oils, mustards, aji (a spicy sauce made with aji chillies), and olive pastes with bread, then moved onto the sweet stuff. First some homemade jams, including jams made with malbec and chardonnay which were both super sweet and completely delicious, then homemade chocolates. To finish, the owner took us to his small bar, lined with dozens of bottles of liquor with flavours like strawberry, chocolate, or banana. Our ‘tasters’ were generous double shots of two flavours of our choice, so I tried mint chocolate and dulce de leche, but also tasted a bit of the rose liquor which tasted like perfume, and Sam’s milkshake-like dulce de leche with banana!

After a long, slightly tipsy bike-ride than involved more than one missed turning, we found our last stop, Trapiche. The largest vineyard in town, Trapiche is more like a really nice estate, with huge, neatly manicured grounds and a towering mansion-like main building. Mendoza Wine Tour - TrapicheAlthough we tried to get out of it, we were forced to take part in the tour before the tasting (50 pesos each for the tour and three tastings), but since this was all in Spanish we didn’t really take much in. The grounds were really pretty, and we finished on a balcony overlooking a big olive garden behind the house and two grazing llamas, where we tasted three wines that, by this point, all tasted the same to me (surprise – I know nothing about wine!).

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not, a bike tour of the vineyards near Mendoza is a great day out, and you could even make it last two days as there are way more vineyards in the area than the few Sam and I managed to visit.

Information

You can take a bus from Mendoza city centre to Maipu (about 30 minutes) for roughly 4.50 pesos each way – from number 10 bus stops you can take bus 171, 172 or 173. Ask the bus driver to tell you when you reach Mr Hugo’s, as this is quite a central stop, or keep an eye out for the road Morón Bruno.

Mr Hugo’s bikes were 70 pesos each for the day, and that included a free bottle of wine at the end, plus a map and discount cards for a couple of the vineyards.

Trapiche and Domiciano are the most expensive to visit at 50 pesos each. We didn’t make it to any of the smaller, family-run places but these range from 20-40 for a tour with a tasting.

Want to know more about travelling in Argentina? Check out the Argentina section on my sister site, Backpack South America. 

About

Award-winning writer and solo female travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper travel. Lover of fun, adventure, food, Harry Potter, hiking, beaches, and chatting about the weather. Can be bought with cake.

43 Comments

  1. It´s all about wine in Mendoza, isn´t it? I was there 2 years ago and had lots of wine (it was very cold too). Seems you had pretty good time there too :)

  2. Aw they have dogs and a kitten there too? Sold! (I’m a massive sucker for animals!) Tipsy bike riding though, that’s definitely a new experience on me! Haha! Sounds like a great experience, I don’t think I could manage it though, I’m such an alcohol lightweight I’d be falling over every few feet!

    • Haha I had to spread the booze out and make sure I ate lots of food all day to avoid getting too tipsy! It was a really fun experience – even if you didn’t drink it would still be awesome :)

  3. Wining and dining makes everything fine!

  4. What a great trip! Must be really relaxing cycling amongst the vineyards! The more you’re tasting, the more relaxing I imagine :-)

  5. This is more or less my perfect day! Some nice Argentine reds, beautiful scenery and biking among it all. I really hope to get to this part of Argentina the next time I’m in South America – I keep regretting that I missed it the first time.

  6. Biking and wineries seems like the perfect fit.

    Really like the shadows in that photo of Trapiche!

  7. Biking and wine sound like an excellent combination :)

  8. this sounds amazing..my dream day, I love Mendoa wine but still not been..very high up on the hit list ;)

  9. *and even Mendoza wine lol

  10. Raphael Alexander Zoren

    Wine is always such a good idea!!! :D

  11. Your travels through Argentina validate the idea that the country is dominated by large, landed estates. I’m really interested what the politics of urban and rural Argentina are these days, especially with the recent default – FYI, I had stock in a company that lost money because it bought Argentinian government bonds, and yes – I think Kirchner should go.

  12. What better place to enjoy wine tasting. I think a visit is in order :)

  13. Definitely not much of a wine drinker myself, but the bikes and the mention of a Vimto comparable wine sounds great!

  14. The Bohemian Diaries

    Great info, Emily! Can’t wait to make it to Mendoza soon and enjoy a few Malbecs :) I’m glad you shared about your biking experience, something I definitely want to check out!

  15. Vineyards in Mendoza with dogs and a cat, that’s perfect! Wine and fussing cute animals, a perfect day!

  16. Mendoza was about wine and music for me. Lots of great tastings while staying with a musician and his family. Unfortunately I didn’t do a bicycling trip, which I’m sure must have been a blast.

  17. Baskets Life Travel

    This sounds like so much fun, I can think of anything better to do than drink wine while bike riding. The day sounds really amazing, I would have also loved the olive farm – What a great day. Love wine tasting!

  18. Karen Warren (@WorldWideWriter)

    I always enjoy tasting wine at the places where it is produced. And I liked the sound of those liquors. Wouldn’t have liked riding a bike after sampling them all though!

  19. I’ve always wanted to try a wine tour riding bikes from spot to spot, although I’m afraid that I would be way too tipsy and fall off the bike! :) Sounds like you had a great day!

  20. Thank you for the great tips! I will be in Argentina in October so this definitely helps with my wining. Can’t wait for endless malbecs :)

  21. Definitely a fun way to spend the day if the wine does not make you too tipsy :)

  22. This sounds like a lovely day out. Great way to end the end with a good glass of wine after biking around.

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