Well-traveled wine lovers know that many of the most delicious wines come from some of the most beautiful places. Such an enticing correlation holds especially true in Latin America, where age-old viniculture and new world ingenuity result in wonderful wines being produced in utterly gorgeous settings.

Ready for a glassful of excellence paired with an eyeful of natural wonder? Allow us to pour out a few recommendations on where to get your fill of both in the wine regions of Latin America.

Argentina

Numero uno on our list of best places for oenophiles to visit in Latin America is Argentina. South America’s biggest wine-growing country is celebrated all over the world for its rich and deeply flavorsome Malbecs. But there’s more to the Argentine wine story than a great glass of red.

Our top recommendation for wine oriented explorations is Mendoza. 80% of grapes grown in Argentina come from this small and scenic mountain town surrounded by vineyards and views of the Andes. Malbec is the quaff of choice in Mendoza and has been the chief crop for more than 150 years. Indeed, 70% of the world’s Malbec comes from here. More than making wine, Mendoza welcomes visitors from near and far with winery tours, an amazing restaurant scene and a range of activities to engage equally outdoor lovers, art aficionados, and fans of art and design.

But Mendoza isn’t the only hot spot for wine in Argentina. Wine is produced in other regions including panoramic Patagonia in the south (where apparently some very nice Pinot Noirs are being produced). Even higher in the Andes than Mendoza is Catamarca, a region quickly advancing in prestige and popularity for the red wines being bottled there. For urban itineraries geared more toward opening bottles and glasses than vineyards and wineries, Buenos Aires is an ideal city. Plus, with its many renowned steak restaurants, you’re sure to find an ideal romantic setting to enjoy the perfect meal to pair with your wine.

Chile

Couldn’t find flight deals to Argentina? A close second to Mendoza, in terms of overall wine production and quality of the wine is Chile. The long and narrow country running snug between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains is home to some of South America’s best-loved wines including bold reds such as peppery Cabernet Sauvignons and earthy Carmeneres.

An ideal destination for wine lovers in Chile is the Maipo Valley. People have been growing grapes and making wine here since the 1500s. A stay here comes replete with stunning views of mountains and vineyards. Well regarded and well-known wineries offer tours and tastings. Another great place for wine-related sightseeing is the Cachapoal Valley. The area is famous for its French-style wines, natural hot springs, and gorgeous mountain vistas.

Both Maipo and Cachapoal are short drives away from Chile’s capital city, Santiago. Indeed, this thriving metropolis would make a smart base for in-town wine tastings and day trip tours to vineyards and wineries.

Mexico

Believe it or not, the Mexican wine industry had generated a lot of interest in recent years. Partly because the wines made there are getting better and better and partly because the regions where wine is made are exceptionally beautiful. Two of the most picturesque places producing wine in Mexico are the Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada and the Parras Valley close to Monterrey.

Increasingly referred to as the Napa Valley of Mexico, Guadalupe Valley is on the Baja Peninsula, about four hours drive from Los Angeles and hardly more than an hour and a half from San Diego. Situated above 1,000 feet in elevation with a mild and sunny microclimate, the wines are surprisingly delicious and the wineries and accommodations especially welcoming and very affordable.

Home to the oldest winery in North America – which dates back to 1597 – and more and more wineries each year, the tiny Parras Valley straddling the states of Durango and Coahuila has vineyards set at 5,000 feet above sea level. Its cool climate and year-round sun suites a handful of varietals quite well, particularly Chardonnay. If the thought of visiting wine country in Mexico seems odd, don’t worry. So much of the rest of the Parras Valley and environs is classic Mexicana with age-old missions and churches, amazing cuisine, and gorgeous vistas.

Honorable Mentions:

Bolivia

For a natural high to go with your wine, head for the Tarija region of Bolivia where grapes are grown at elevations of up to 9,200 feet. The wine-producing history of Bolivia dates back to the 17th century when Spanish Conquistadors first arrived in the region. The climate in this region is much like that in the Mediterranean regions. This is combined with the terrain and elevations lends itself perfectly to some delicious, quickly aged red wines. If you visit here, be sure to try the local Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Tannat.

Brazil

For views of pretty vineyards rolled out across a lilting countryside that’ll have you wondering just where the heck you are, make for the Campanha region of southern Brazil; in an absolute number of acres, it’s the third biggest wine-producing area in South America behind Argentina and Chile.

Uruguay

Completely off the radar for most wine lovers outside of South America, Uruguay doesn’t produce massive volumes of wine but much of what it does bottle is considered to be some of the best from the continent; its Ruta del Vino offers an easy way to explore the country and its charming capital city, Montevideo, serves as a comfortable base.

Does wine feature prominently in your travels? What areas of the world do you love to visit for winery tours and tastings?

 

About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.