When the words “Argentinean Wines “are mentioned, Mendoza comes to mind. Mendoza is the most important region in Argentina for the wine industry. As Argentina wines have made their mark on the world market so has the city of Mendoza. Not only is the city famous for its wine and vineyards, but Mendoza has become a destination for adventure seekers and the many outdoor sports and unbelievable scenery the area has to offer.
Mendoza is Argentina’s fourth largest city and capital of Mendoza province. A population of almost 900,000 people the city is located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, in Argentina’s western region known as Cuyo . Mendoza has become the gateway to Chile and the high Andes. Location wise the city of Mendoza is closer to Santiago than to Buenos Aires thus travelers often will make the journey between the two cities, either by plane in one hour, or the beautiful scenic ride through the Andes at 6 hours.
Water being scarce, Mendoza has an irrigation system that has been in place for centuries. First developed by three Indian tribes, the Huarpes, Puelches and the Incas, that lived in the area prior to the Spaniards arrival. In 1561 the city of Mendoza was founded by Pedro Del Castillo who named the new city after the governor of Chile, Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza. As the population increased in Mendoza the Spaniards expanded on the irrigation system which is still evident today in the road side canals. Located at the base of South America’s longest mountain range, the Andes, Mendoza has been frequent by several earthquakes. In 1861 the city was devastated by a major quake killing 5000 people. Mendoza was rebuilt with structures that were able to handle the seismic activity of the area, streets made wider and large squares incorporated into the city design. Today San Martin Street and Mendoza’s largest park, Parque San Martin are an example of change due to the earthquakes.
Mendoza being known for its two main industries, wine and olive oil production has seen quite a bit of growth in tourism. Mendoza has become a major stopping point on the road traveled between Chile and Argentina. Climbers have used the city as a starting point for climbing South America’s as well as the western hemispheres tallest mountain, Aconcagua. Adventure travelers are also drawn to Mendoza for rafting, hiking, and horseback riding. The city offers easy access to some of the best skiing in Argentina and South America. Wine lovers are drawn for the areas wines, notably the Malbec wines only found in the Mendoza area, and the many vineyards wine tours and tastings the region has to offer.
Hot, humid and wet summers and dry winters, Mendoza is considered a semi- desert region. Temperatures range in the 90’s for January (Argentina’s summer) during the daytime, and dropping to the low 60’s during the night. Winter will bring temperatures in the high 50’s during the day and the low to mid 30’s in the night. Annual rainfall is less than 10 inches, thus the need for Mendoza’s irrigation system.