Mendoza

Entre Copas or ‘between glasses’ is where most of the fun in wine happens. Between a couple glasses of wine one evening with a friend; over a romantic glass or two of sparkling wine on a date; or over a cheeky glass of wine at lunch with a colleague. It is between the glasses where conversation happens and personal connections form, and that’s exactly the ethos behind the Entre Copas event at the Sheraton’s Mirador restaurant in Mendoza, Argentina.

Monteviejo Wine Rock has been one of the greatest musical and wine highlights in Argentina’s calendar since its inception in 2011, and today - thanks to a collaboration with the Park Hyatt in Mendoza city - it has spawned into a week-long event involving hundreds of artists, musicians and chefs, and thousands of wine bottles!

It’s no surprise that Wine Rock Week took home a Great Wine Capitals Award for Innovative Experiences in its very first year, 2017, and well deserved that it went on to become the global winner. The event has become one of epic proportions, however its roots go deep and have humble beginnings - starting with a winemaker and a musician who shared a bond for good wine and good music…

Bodegas Caro is set in the historic winery of Bodega Escorihuela, founded in 1885. The old winery has been lovingly restored into a beautiful cocoon of history, culture and wine - the completion of which, in March 2017, prompted it to win the Great Wine Capitals Best Of Wine Tourism award for Architecture.

A visit to Bodegas Caro reveals the way in which the architecture and wines both tell a story of tradition and history, and also one of innovation and the future.

Glass has been essential to the preservation of wine over many centuries and continues to sustain the industry today. Thus it is quite fitting that last year’s Great Wine Capital’s ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ Award winner in Sustainability in Mendoza was Verallia, one of the world’s largest glass bottle producers.

There’s one thing Mendoza really does in style, and that’s a good fiesta. Argentines know how to hold a party and in the capital of wine it is no exception. This year's Great Wine Capitals 'Best Of Wine Tourism' award winner for wine tourism services was Diplomatic Luxury Wines - a wine festival held each year in the depths of winter to bring a little warmth to wine lovers in Mendoza.

The highlight of any dining experience at the Abrasado restaurant at Bodega Los Toneles is the steak. It stole the show as the main course - tender, full of flavour and cooked a perfect pink (or however you like it). The plate was scattered with local aromatics which added a depth to the flavour and complimented the slight smokiness from the grill. This steak alone was reason enough for Abrasado to win the Great Wine Capitals Best Restaurant in Mendoza award.

The best thing about visiting a winery is seeing all the action as it happens: the grapes being picked in the vineyard, brought into the winery and then moving into the tanks where they start their incredible transformation into wine. Being among the hubbub of harvest is the most exciting moment of the year and gives you a profound understanding of how wine is made.

So what happens if you are visiting in January?

It isn’t often that a winery wins the same award two years in a row, but when it comes to the case of Monteviejo and the Great Wine Capitals Arts and Culture Award, it couldn’t be more deserved.

Monteviejo has set the bar high for cultural activities at a winery as their Art and Culture Director Gabriela Nafissi tirelessly creates new projects with different local and national artists and collaborators.

There are wineries that look great, and others that function well. Sadly it feels like somewhat of a rarity when they achieve both. But the Great Wine Capitals’ global architecture winner last year is a rare gem that really does achieve both, and will please the most exacting oenophile as well as the most passionate architect.

The new Zuccardi Piedra Infinita winery in the Uco Valley was born out of desire, rather than necessity. The Zuccardi family have a large, functional and busy winery to the east of Mendoza, in Maipu. With each new generation of the family, the winery has expanded and the horizons lifted. It homes the winemaking facilities for several wine labels (including their popular day-to-day wine label, Santa Julia), two restaurants, an olive farm, and an art gallery. And there is room to expand.

Rosell Boher Lodge (http://www.rosellboherlodge.com/) has hit the nail on the head when it comes to taking advantage of Mendoza’s beautiful vineyard vistas and mesmerising sunsets. Each individual lodge has its own rooftop deck with sofas, sun-loungers, a wood-burning fireplace and a warm, bubbling jacuzzi. It’s a slice of wine country heaven.

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