South America produces some of the best wines in the world. It’s no surprise that wine tours have started to become more and more popular throughout the continent, with visitors coming from all over the world to sample their offerings.
There are 3 countries in South America that are famous for producing spectacular wines: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.
For the sake of fairness and variety, we have selected 3 excellent wineries from each country for this list of the 9 best wineries in South America.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful places to visit on the planet, Argentina’s best wine producing region is Mendoza. Situated between two mountain ranges of the Andes, the contrast between miles of vineyards against majestic peaks is a sight to behold.
A mixture of rough and rugged scenery lining the outskirts, with a modern city of comforts and sophistication makes Mendoza a must-see for any wine aficionado.
1. Bodega CARO
This is a joint venture between Domaines Barons de Rotschild (Lafite) and the Catena family (consider the Mondoavi family of Argentina). Their idea was to create a unique wine combining two cultures (French and Argentine) and two grape varieties (Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon). The Catena family relied on the knowledge of high-altitude terroirs in Mendoza and on the passion for Malbec to find the best vineyards. Domaines Barons de Rotschild provided the century-old management of Cabernet Sauvignon and the art of making great wines through the blending of different grape varieties.
The Bodegas CARO Winery in the heart of Mendoza, has been producing the wines since the 2003 vintage and serves as the anchor of the CARO project. The renovation of the historic building and gardens in order to expand the winery and open the Bodega to the outside brings the final touch to the original project.
Cabernet Sauvignon is his specialty, and he’s known to only release a wine after it has properly matured for maximum appreciation. This can take up to 5 years, or longer after the initial harvest.
2. Bodega Benegas Lynch
Bodega Benegas winery is on the border of neighboring wine regions Maipu and Lujan province of Mendoza, 20 minutes from Mendoza city. The winery building is one of the few relics of the old Mendoza, built in 1901 and is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza.
This traditional winery houses fine French style blends and single varietals including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah.
The owner’s fantastic collection of ponchos from around Argentina, and harvesting equipment dating back almost 100 years, provides unique backdrop for learning and tasting. Informative tours and attractive surroundings make this a memorable visit.
3. Bodega Salentein
Salentein winery is located in the heart of the Uco Valley, is one of the most historical, yet modern wineries in Mendoza.
The bodega is located at an elevation of 1.200 meters (4.000 feet), right in the vineyard’s center. More than 49 hectares (121 acres), of native desert habitat were preserved and are a part of the bodega’s everyday landscape. The western horizon is dominated by the close snowy Andes, which have an elevation of over 6.100 meters (20.000 feet). The magnificent bodega was designed taking into account two aspects: the shape and the function.
Designed like a temple to wine, this ultra-concept winery includes a gallery, lodge and chapel.
4. Bodega Clos de los Siete
Created in 1998 by world famous French winemaker Michel Rolland, Clos de los Siete is a project of four different wineries (Monteviejo, Cuvelier Los Andes, DiamAndes and Michel’s own Bodega Rolland.
Four bodegas were then built. A part of the production of each is used to make and blend the shared wine “Clos de los Siete”. The rest goes into the wines of their own respective ranges: Monteviejo, Cuvelier los Andes, DiamAndes and Bodega Rolland.
When you visit Clos de los Siete, the four wineries will demonstrate their expertise and present their beautiful wines with such unique characteristics in an outstanding setting. Against a backdrop of snowy Andean peaks, the area boasts breathtaking landscapes, often bathed in generous sunshine. In the surrounding area, there are also ideal places to visit if you enjoy sharing experiences and the thrill of discovering something new.
Chile is one country that can be described as being deeply steeped in wine culture. There are multiple wine growing valleys that span almost the whole of the country.
The old and the new are intertwined here, creating a unique balance between bold new tastes and the rustic comfort of familiar classical wines. The landscapes that you have to pass through to reach these valleys are stunning in their breathtaking beauty. And the scenery changes dramatically as you move across the country.
5. Concha y Toro
The largest and most renowned wine producer in South America is Concha y Toro. It is also one of the oldest wineries on the continent.
When taking a wine tour through this winery, you will discover the “Devil’s Cellar,” where barrels hold their special wines that can cost a pretty penny. This is one place you really shouldn’t miss if you’re a serious wine lover.
6. Casa Silva
Known as the most luxurious and prestigious winery in Chile, the Casa Silva estate boasts a myriad of activities and sights. There are miles of vineyards scattered across the property, a hotel, restaurants, and even a polo field.
Located in the Colchagua Valley near San Fernando, the trip getting to the estate offers plenty of beautiful scenery.
7. Viña Santa Cruz
Adding some variety to the mix, this winery not only offers wine tours through their vineyards, but also takes you on a cable car, giving you a bird’s eye view of the winery. The cable car then drops you atop a mountain, where there’s a traditional pre-Spanish village, a trip which provides a unique insight into what the culture was like.
The winery tour not only focuses on wine, but also highlights the beauty of the area, preserves the culture of local inhabitants, and finally inspires guests by using a few astronomical telescopes to get a glimpse at the secrets of the night sky.
8. A&A Vineyards and Winery
A&A’s state-of-the-art wine facility is located high in the Maipo Valley, where all of Chile’s most famous red wines are produced.
A&A employ only the most skilled workers to join our team, training them in the A&A standards of excellence. Many of our team members are former Santa Alicia staff, and bring experience and dedication to quality that is evident in each bottle of wine that we produce. A&A focuses on premium reds, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carménère, and Syrah.
Andrés Pérez and Alicia Balmaceda founded A&A Vineyards & Winery, home of the ALYAN wines, in 2001. They have spent over thirty years of marriage working together in the wine business.
Uruguay is a relatively recent addition to the list of the best wine tour destinations in the world. After landing in Montevideo, and venturing out into the streets, you will find exquisite wines in nearly every restaurant, shop, and bar.
Uruguay is often described as one of the best kept secrets when it comes to wine tours. Their real claim to fame is Los Caminos del Vino, (The Wine Roads), in which 15 families have joined together to share in the bounty of Uruguayan wine.
9. Bodega Bouza
Not only does this “bodega” (wine cellar) have fantastic wine, they also proudly display a collection of vintage cars and motorcycles.
You can expect to sample some fabulous Chardonnays and amazing reds at Bodega Bouza. This winery is also adept at perfectly pairing food with their wines. Its popularity among locals and visitors alike makes it one of the most well-known wineries in Uruguay.
Whichever country you decide to visit first for your winery tour in South America, you are certain to return home with a lifetime of memories. (Not to mention at least a few bottles of some of the best wines in the world.)
However, to fully appreciate the wines of South America, you really should visit all three countries. Not only for the sake of comparison, but also for the chance to revel in some of the most beautiful, diverse, and stunning landscapes found in South America.
Taking the time to visit Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay will help you to fully appreciate the history of the vines, the stories behind the wineries, and the people who keep the joy, passion, and elegance of South American winemaking alive and well.