Wine Rock Week: Wine + rock + art + food = good times!

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by Amanda Barnes

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…

Renowned winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti and experienced musician Rano Sarbach put on a music and wine session with friends in 2011 at Bodega Monteviejo, where Marcelo is winemaker.

“In our first year, we just shoved together a couple empty wine crates as a stage - it was just about friends, wine and music,” says Rano Sarbach, recalling the first Monteviejo Wine Rock back in 2011 where friends and family were invited to visit for a weekend of music in the Argentine capital of wine, Mendoza.

From there, word spread and more musician friends asked if they could join in on-stage and more people asked to attend off-stage. The festival grew into one of the musical highlights of Mendoza’s calendar with famous Argentina musicians including Fernando Ruíz Díaz, Jaime Torres and Felipe Staiti becoming regular fixtures - often finding space between cases of grapes. “Sometimes the harvest comes at the same time as Wine Rock,” laughs Pelleriti, “one year we had grapes coming in while we were setting up the stage!”

Balancing wine and music has been a quintessential part of Monteviejo Wine Rock and soon another dimension entered into the arena - the world of art. The aptly-named ‘Plus + Arte’ became a special additional event the day before the main rock festival. Gabriela Nafissi, Art & Culture Director of Bodega Monteviejo and Pelleriti’s wife, invited artists to create unique exhibitions in the vineyard and winery at the same time as the rock festival.

Leandro Livschitz, Rano Sarbach, Marcelo Pelleriti and Gabriella Nafissi

Nafissi is author of Reencarnaciones, a collaborative book combining art, poetry, music, video and wine, and this ethos of combining different art worlds is what makes Plus + Arte a distinctive event. Highlights over the years have included live painting and sculpture, modern dance and giant inflatable jaguars in the vineyard. Artists from all over the country have participated what has become one of the most dynamic art events in the country.

Last year, the Park Hyatt gave Pelleriti a call. “We wanted to give Wine Rock a home in the city for the week,” explains the Hyatt manager Leandro Livschitz. The Hyatt was already hosting its ‘Master of Food & Wine’ week at a similar time as the festival - where international chefs flew into Mendoza to create different islands of cuisine during a large wine tasting. Livschitz thought they could combine this with Wine Rock - creating a hub of wine, gastronomy, art and music in the city centre, as well as in Monteviejo’s vineyards in the Uco Valley, and making a week-long event which attracted some 3,200 attendees this year.

A highlight of the new week-long reincarnation of Wine Rock is the ‘Master of Food & Wine - Rock Edition’ where the central plaza of the Park Hyatt is filled with delicious aromas as top chefs from Latin America cook up their icon dishes accompanied by some of Argentina’s top wines and a line up of musicians entertain the imbibing crowds.

While this event is certainly the biggest crowd-pleaser of the midweek entertainment, there’s also an in-depth series of art seminars and talks, featuring some of Argentina’s most celebrated artists, alongside cooking classes, wine dinners and musical performances which keep Mendoza city buzzing.

When it comes to the weekend, everyone ventures into the Uco Valley for Plus + Arte and the original rock festival - culminating in one of the biggest art, music and wine festivals in Argentina.

Written by Amanda Barnes

Twitter: @amanda_tweeter

Instagram: @amanda_wine