Take an Argentina wine tour during the Vendimia Wine Festival, a celebration of the grape harvest, held every February in Mendoza, Argentina.
Mendoza, Argentina, is world-renowned for its delicious Malbec wine. But what many people don’t know is that late February-March is the best time to take an Argentina wine tour, because the Vendimia, the grape harvest celelbration, is in full swing.
Read more about the Vendimia and check out our Argentina wine tours to learn more about this traditional, lively Argentine celebration.
The 2012 Vendimia Wine Festival will take place March 2-5, and most events will be held in the Parque General San Martín in Mendoza. This is the prime time to take an Argentina wine tour, when you can partake in merrymaking such as movie nights, activities for children, open-air dancing, and a crafts show where local artisans sell their wares. Traditional Mendocino food is in abundance.
The Blessings of the Fruits is the initial part of the wine festival. While on an Argentina wine tour to the Vendimia Festival in Mendoza, you can watch as the Archbishop of Mendoza blesses the grapes, thanking God for the bountiful harvest. Meanwhile, the governor symbolically strikes a plough, representing the end of the harvest.
The main attraction is the Via Blanca de las Reinas, a parade through town with colorful floats, dancers, and music that celebrate the queens of each department of the Mendoza province. The candidates for Harvest Queen enjoy tossing fruits to the adoring crowds. The crowning event is the naming of the Grape Harvest Queen, a tradition that’s been going on since 1936. There is even a fireworks show to accompany the crowning of the Queen.
Soon after, another parade comes to town: the Carrusel de Vendimia. Focusing more on the rich colonial history of the Mendoza province, this parade includes gauchos dressed in full cowboy gear, traditional musicians and dancers, and horse-drawn carriages that hearken back the colonial era.
The final spectacle is the Acto Central, an elaborate lights and music show held in the Greek Theatre (el Teatro Griego) in Mendoza. Hundreds of dancers and musicians perform traditional folktales as well as other impressive feats. In 2009, tango dancers even danced upon water. You must purchase a ticket in advance in order to see the show, but it’s also possible to view the show from the surrounding hillsides, where local families bring chairs and picnics for the evening spectacle.
During your Argentina wine tour, you will also want to visit the best Argentina wineries near Mendoza for a wine tasting. Make sure to sip some Malbec, the local favorite, as well as some Torrontés, Syrah, and Tempranillo. You may want to indulge on this Argentina wine tour with a full lunch as well; after all, the Mendocino food is world-class. Try Almacen del Sur on Zanichelli, a first-rate bodega, or winery. There is also a Museum of Wine, el Museo del Vino, in nearby Maipú.
For those looking for a more adventurous Argentina wine tour, try thinking outside a traditional bus tour, and go for a bike ride to the major wineries in the Mendoza region. It’s possible to rent bicycles and obtain good maps, and local are usually very helpful if you have any questions – but you’ll need to know some basic Spanish.
You can also hire a billingual guide. The best way to stay safe and get the most out of your Argentina wine tour is to book your wine tour with a reputable travel agency who will make the bookings for you, and make sure that you have reliable guides and transfers.
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