Argentine Wines – Key Growing Regions Updated

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Argentine Wines – Key Growing Regions Updated

Argentina’s grape growing areas are divided into three main regions that mostly follow the country’s long western border along the Andes Mountains.

Northwest/Norte — High altitude


Meaning “very beautiful”, Salta’s vineyards are located in the desert-like Calchaquí Valley and have the Andes’ highest peaks in the background.

  • Vineyard altitude is 4,200 – 9,842’

  • Highest vineyard in the world at 9,842’ in Colomé

  • Average annual temperature is 59F

  • Furthest north

  • Produces 3% of Argentina’s wine

  • Main region is Cafayate

Key wines: Fragrant, crisp Torrontés


A new focus on planting top quality grapes in sandy, stony soils —combined with mountainous terrain and near desert-like weather— is transforming this rural region’s wines.

  • Vineyard altitude is 3,300 – 7,200’
  • Average annual temperature is 65F

Key wines: Fragrant Torrontés, concentrated Syrah

Center-West/Cuyo — Lots of sun, low rain/humidity/fertility

La Rioja

There is so much sun that the main training system is the parral (a high, flat wide-top trellis), which shades the berries and prevents sunburn. Little rain and well-drained alluvial soils are countered with new drip irrigation technology.

  • Vineyard altitude is 2,624-4,593’
  • Average annual temperature is 66F

Key wines: Torrontés makes rich still and lush sparkling wines, ripe Bonarda

San Juan

With one of the sunniest climates in the world, it’s no wonder that San Juan is the second-largest wine-producing province in Argentina. Hot days give way to cold nights; this diurnal shift slows maturity for intense, concentrated wines.

  • Vineyard altitude is 1,968-4,429’
  • Average annual temperature is 63F

  • Only 30 cloudy days each year

Key wines: Juicy Viognier and intense Malbec. Ripe and fleshy Syrah is the rising star, replacing traditional Bonarda


Mendoza’s varied altitudes and temperatures offer great conditions for a wide range of grape varieties. Natural resources and massive investment in vineyards and wineries have made this Argentina’s wine capital and one of the world’s great wine regions.

  • Vineyard altitude is 1,500-5,580’
  • Average annual temperature is 59/66F

  • 70% of Argentina’s wine production

  • Five main areas: Northeastern, Central, Mendoza River Area (including Luján de Cuyo and Maipú), Uco Valley and Southern

  • Top subregions: Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley

  • Higher vineyards have bigger diurnal swings for extra acidity, flavours, ageing potential

Key wines: Red blends, with powerful Malbecs and a growing number of Cabernet Sauvignons. Torrontés at lower elevations; Chardonnay at higher elevations.

South/Patagonia — Lowest altitude, farthest south near chilly Antarctic currents


Newest wine region, first planted in 1999, focused on modern, high-quality wines.

  • Vineyard altitude is 1,300-1,500’
  • Average annual temperature is 50F

  • Big diurnal shift

  • Patagonian winds keep grapes dry and cool, but can also damage the berries

  • Nutrient-poor soils cause roots to go deep, through many layers and gain complexity. Also limits vine growth, encouraging more concentrated, ripe grapes.

Key wines: Bright acidity is a hallmark of this cool region. Malbec is floral, mineral. Elegant Pinot Noir is creating a stir.

Río Negro

A traditional growing area in Patagonia, with Malbec vineyards a few generations old. More recent plantings down near the chilly 42nd Parallel. As with Neuquén, growing diversity and quality.

  • Vineyard altitude is 1,300-1,500’
  • Average annual temperature is 55F

  • Windswept

  • Semi-arid and poor soils for great concentration

Key wines: Mineral Sauvignon Blanc. Aromatic Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot.

The Gateway Team – When You are Serious About Property

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