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Cafayate wineries and wines were unknown to us prior to visiting Argentina.
Little we knew about Torrontes, a surprising and delightful crisp white wine born in the heights of Argentinian northern region.
After hearing about Torontes while visiting Mendoza, the most famous wine region of Argentina, we quickly planned a trip to visit Cafayate.
During our stay in Cafayate, we toured many wineries or bodegas and enjoyed several wine tastings.
To help you plan for your tours to Cafayate wineries, we put together this guide to the Cafayate bodegas.
Find the 10 best wineries in Cafayate to visit with our tips and recommendations on how to best plan your trip.
The Land of Torrontes Wines And Cafayate Wineries
Cafayate is a department within the province of Salta, Argentina. The wines from Salta are the highest vineyards in the world with more than 1800 hectares of vines cultivated in the Calchaquí Valleys.
Cafayate’s vineyards are at 1750 meters above sea level making it higher than the vines of Mendoza, Burgundy and Bordeaux in France, and Napa Valley in the U.S.
Locals say that Cafayate is the “land where the sun lives.” With over 340 sunny days per year, the hot rays of the sun and cool nights, produces grapes with superb ripeness.
This transmits to the wines intense colors and great concentrations of aromas and flavors.
It is not surprising to find some of the country’s award-winning wines come from this beautiful region.
Cafayate bodegas produce the emblematic and indigenous Torrontes wine, a crisp and fruity white wine.
In addition to this famous wine, the area also produces full bodied reds like Tannat, Cabernet-Sauvignon and to a lesser extent Malbec.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Planning Your Visits To Cafayate Wineries
To best understand Torrontes and wines from the region, we recommend taking winery tours to the best vineyards. Depending on where you are staying, here are a few options.
From Cafayate – this half day winery tour takes you to the best wineries in the Calchaqui Valley. Over a 4-hour period, you’ll visit two wineries for tastings and vineyard tours. You’ll also stop at the Museum of Vine and Wine.
From Salta – you have two options. A private winery tour or a small group tour experience.
Private tour from Salta – this private day-long tour to Cafayate vineyards takes you to three wineries. You’ll sample local wines including Torrontes, Malbec and Tannat and visit the scenic Quebrada de las Conchas canyon.
Small group tour from Salta – this full day tour to Cafayate wineries also includes stops with panoramic views of the mountains and villages. You’ll pass through the tobacco producing Lerma Valley, marvel at the rock formations on your way to your winery visit. You’ll take a different route back to with a totally different landscape.
Best Wineries in Cafayate You Want to Visit
1. Bodega Nanni – Taste Organic Cafayate Wines
Bodega Nanni, a family run winery gave us one of the best wine tours and wine tastings in Cafayate.
Centrally located near the main square, it’s one of the few wineries in Cafayate open daily.
Bodega Nanni produces exclusive organic wines. Their production is small compared to other Cafayate wineries, producing about 400,000 bottles of wines annually.
If you are not interested in tastings, it is possible to tour their relatively small operation for free.
The tour of the winery was very instructive led by a passionate guide. It was followed by a tasting of four of their signature wines.
The tasting allowed us to relish the smooth, fruity, and well-balanced notes of Torrontes. We also had the chance to discover the Tannat red wine which delivered strong hints of tobacco, chocolate, and vanilla. The perfect red wine to accompany local Argentinian red meats.
We particularly appreciated finishing our tasting experience leisurely in the quaint garden surrounding the winery.
If you want to pair your wine with local food specialties, Bodega Nanni also has a restaurant within the winery.
The well-informed guides, intimate tour, lovely garden and delightful Cafayate wine sampling makes this winery a must-visit.
Address: Silverio Chavarria 151, Cafayate
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, except Sundays which is open only until 6:00 pm
Pricing: Two tastings are now offered. Three wines for about ARS$ 500 (approx. $4.30). Five wines including two Reserve wines for ARS$ 700 pesos (approx. $6). No booking necessary.
2. Jose L. Mounier – Finca Las Nubes
Mounier is a small bodega that produces about 50,000 bottles of wines a year. At the time of our visit, they were going through the process of getting the organic certification and label.
However, their wines are made following organic wine making principles.
The Finca Las Nubes vineyards are located about 1800m above sea level. The Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are found between the hills of the Calchaquí Valleys, in the Cafayate Valley.
The founder of this family winery is Jose L. Mounier. And, the wines are branded Las Nubes which means “the clouds.”
One thing that surprised us during our tour was learning about the aging process. Our guide told us that the production of wines in Argentina is mainly young wines that don’t mature in oak.
This is due to the market demand in Argentina which likes to consume wine right away.
Argentines, as we learned, “don’t have the culture of keeping wines and letting them age and that they don’t necessarily appreciate complex wines”.
At the end of March, there is a Harvest Festival that is organized and the bodega invites visitors to harvest and celebrate.
For the tours and tastings, the guides are none other than the actual winemakers. This allows you know the vineyards, learn the wine making process and try the wines from the people that make them.
Las Nubes winery also has a restaurant on site. This is the perfect place to enjoy empanadas, humitas, and artisanal cold cuts. The views of Cafayate Argentina are breathtaking especially on the panoramic observation deck.
Address: Camino del Divisadero s/n, Cafayate.
Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Pricing: Tours and tastings run for approximately 40 minutes for ARS$ 800 (approx. $7)
Pro Tip: The tours are generally offered in Spanish but other languages can be arranged with advanced notice
3. Bodega El Transito
At the end of the 19th century, Pietro, an Italian from the Abruzzo region moved to Cafayate. He left his homeland in the hope for a better life and a chance to harness his passion for viticulture.
Later on, his two sons, following the same love for wines, created “El Transito” winery in 1942.
Bodega El Transito sits several steps from Nanni at the town centre. Surprisingly, a Nanni family member owns and manages Bodega El Transito.
Over time, the Cafayate winery has won several awards and medals since 2009. This is in part due to their latest technology in wine production.
Unlike other Cafayate wineries, El Transito offers very inexpensive tours and tastings.
A tour usually taking around 15 minutes where people can enjoy a tasting of four wines. This typically consists of white Torrontes wine and three glasses of red wines from various varieties.
A wine tasting is recommended as you won’t find their high quality wines in ordinary supermarket shelves. And, if you do, the price will be higher than what El Transito sells them at the winery.
Wine lovers will not want to miss this visiting the winery and tasting the wines. These are some of the best Cafayate wines you want to try.
Address: Belgrano 102 – esquina Silverio Chavarría, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Pricing: Two wine tasting packages are offered. A 4-wine tasting package cost ARS$50 ($0.45) per person and a 3-wine package costs about ARS$ 20 ($0.18)
4. Bodega El Esteco
Within the Calchaqui Valley, is Bodega El Esteco, one of the most complex bodegas in the Cafayate wine region.
The wines are marked by the desertic arid climate and huge temperature swings from day to night. Along with rocky, calcareous soils, 1700 meters above sea, their wines are a blend of extremes.
The Chañar Punco line of wines from Bodega El Esteco are notable for growing in rugged parts of the valley.
This wine, a Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend is highly awarded for its structure and concentrated personality.
The winery was founded by in1892 by two brothers, French immigrants. Along with the Italian wife of one of the brothers, they were the first to export Torrontés wines internationally.
Today, the winery is owned by Grupo Peñaflor, a large wine producer in Argentina. And, it continues to be one of the country’s most respected wineries.
The bodega offers wine tours and tastings including a restaurant and hotel on site. You can enjoy a tour of the vineyards, a winery visit and tasting of up to 4 wines.
Additional experiences like horseback riding around the vineyards is also available. And, not to be missed is a wine tasting experience at dusk, just as the sun is setting.
This is followed by wine tasting accompanied by regional cheeses and empanadas.
In Salta Province, Bodega El Esteco offers one of the most comprehensive experiences compared to most wineries.
Wine lovers will enjoy a stop or a several night stay at Bodega El Esteco.
Address: RN40 Km 4343, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Pricing: Tastings of 4 wines range from ARS$ 1400 to ARS$ 2400 (Approx. $10 to $20)
Pro Tip: Consider a stay at Bodega El Esteco to enjoy the Cafayate wine, dramatic desert, and unwind.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Bodega El Esteco also has a hotel that you can stay at while visiting the Cafayate region. Known as Patios de Cafayate, its a beautiful Spanish colonial style building with amazing vineyard and mountain views. There is a gastronomy restaurant on site, an outdoor pool and golf available nearby.
5. Bodega El Porvenir de Cafayate
A family-run winery located in the idyllic town of Tolombon is where you’ll find El Porvenir winery.
Founded by Roberto Romero, about 40 years ago, its located just a few kilometers from the Cafayate wine region.
After 20 years, the granddaughter, Lucia, decided to embark on a new project. The idea was to plant Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot vines in the isolated valley of Cafayate Argentina.
This small-scale winery produces only 8,500 bottles of wine yearly. The three popular lines are El Porvenir, Amauta and the favorite, the Laborum line.
Bodega El Porvenir de Cafayate offers tours and wine tastings. There is a guided tour to discover the impressive vineyard and to also see the wine making process.
Three different wine tasting options are available. They each offer three or four wines ranging from their standard to premium wines. The serving sizes are particularly generous.
Beyond the wine tastings you also have the option to enjoy a picnic in the vineyards. Additionally, you can also choose to have a regional lunch with empanadas, a traditional salad and dessert.
In addition, Bodega El Porvenir offers accommodations at their winery house called Finca El Retiro just a few blocks from the town center. Great views, many facilities and a pool are included.
Address: Cordoba 32, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Pricing: Wine tasting range in price from ARS$ 1200 to ARS$ 2200 (approx. $9 to $17), depending on el vino.
Pro Tip: Wine tastings are available from Tuesday to Saturday and if you want to eat, advanced bookings are recommended
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: El Porvenir is another great place to consider staying at during your visit to Salta. Charming accommodations are offered in the winery house surrounded by vineyards and with mountain views. It’s equipped with all modern amenities you’d expect including WiFi. There is also an outdoor pool and breakfast is included.
6. Bodega Etchart
Established in 1850, Bodega Etchart is one of the oldest and most distinguished wineries in Argentina.
It is also the first winery in the Cafayate Valley to be recognized with the Sustainable Agriculture Certification of Bodegas de Argentina.
Sustainability and a respect for the environment is at the core of their wine-making identity.
A taste of Etchart’s wines can help you understand Cafayate’s flavors and aromas that vary with the seasons.
Bodega Etchart is one of the most highly awarded wineries in Argentina. Their wines have received more than 500 awards, and counting.
One of Etchart’s most iconic vinos is the Arnaldo B, a tribute to its founder. A wine awarded with 52 medals, including the gold medal at the Mondial de Bruxelles.
It is a blend of 60% Malbec, 30% Cabernet, and 10% varietals, including Tannat, Petit Verdot, Ancellotta, Bonarda, and Syrah.
The winery produces a range of wines made with local and international grape varietals. For white wines, you’ll find Torrontes, Chardonnay, and a fantastic sweet Torrontes wine made with late harvest grapes.
The red wines included Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. You’ll find Etchart wines all around Cafayate and also in Buenos Aires.
Address: Ruta Nacional 40 1047 Km 4338, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Pricing: Wines range in price starting at about ARS$ 566 (Approx. $4.50)
Pro Tip: Check out the Cafayate Reserve wines grown at high altitude vineyards for their balanced and elegant flavors.
7. Piattelli Vineyards
Adopted and now owned by a couple from Minnesota, USA, Piattelli’s continues to be one of the best Cafayate wineries.
With a local team and winemakers in charge, the wines are created with a deep respect for the Cafayate region.
With some of the vineyards as high as 5,890 feet in elevation, authentic wine is produced with minimal interference.
Some of their wines are harvested earlier than most wineries resulting in less sweet and drier wines.
The winery also uses a unique gravity-flow vinification system, which prevents grapes from breaking and the juice from being oxygenated and heated.
This Cafayate winery is known for its exceptional Torrontes, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat wines.
In addition to the Cafayate winery, Piattelli also has vineyards in Mendoza. Their award winning Malbec Grand Reserve and Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve are not to be missed in Mendoza.
Nestled in the Calchaqui’ Valleys amongst colorful mountain landscapes is the Piattelli Wine Resort.
Staying here is a great option to relax, reconnect in gorgeous nature. At the wine resort, tours are offered where you can try the range of Piattelli wines including the limited wine collection.
Bike rides through the winery along with horseback riding and even tango lessons are some of the additional activities offered.
For a unique experience in Cafayate, take a Piattelli evening tour. This way, you’ll enjoy the tour and two-wine tasting before settling down to a dinner at the Piattelli restaurant.
Address: Ruta Provincial N2, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Pricing: Wine tastings start at ARS$ 600 (approx 4.70) with varied pricing based on wine selection
Pro Tip: Go for the wine and chocolate tasting, featuring Argentina’s finest dark chocolates
Other Cafayate Wineries To Consider For A Visit
8. Vasija Secreta
Although unplanned, we’re glad we dropped by this bodega just as it was about to start a free guided tour of its museum.
The view offered a glimpse of Secreta’s wine production process – brief yet educational.
At the early 19th century, the Cordova Murga family founded La Banda, a winery located at today’s entrance of the city.
Nowadays, carrying the name of Vasija Secreta, it is one of the oldest Cafayate bodegas.
Over the years, wine making has evolved keeping the heritage of the region while using modern winemaking techniques.
White wines including Torrontes and red wines like Malbec and Tannat are some of the wines from Vasija Secreta.
While we enjoyed the tasting, we didn’t love all the wines we tried. Our best choices were the Torrontes for white wine and the Tannat red wine.
We ended our visit tasting more wines at Secreta’s restaurant. This is a great space to relish the views of the Salta and enjoy wine tasting in Cafayate.
Address: RN40 Km 4343, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Pricing: Three wine tasting experiences are offered ranging from ARS$ 1,600 to ARS$ 3,000 (approx. $14.50 to $27)
Pro Tip: Get the Cordova’s House & Murga for only ARS 3,000 (USD 27) for a surprisingly pleasant experience.
9. Finca Quara
Our stop at Finca Quara was very spontaneous. We hadn’t planned to go there as we had tasted one of the Quara wines at a wine bar in town and we were not impressed by it.
Nonetheless, we decided to make a stop at Finca Quara and learn about the wines and winery. Just as we arrived, a large tourist bus preceded us and we ended up doing the tour with them.
Unfortunately, with the large group, the guide not at ease managing a group of our size. Nonetheless, we still had an opportunity to get to know Finca Quara wines.
Finca Quara is a family-run winery, founded by Jose Fortunato Lavaque, at the end of the 19th century.
It is now run by the 5th generation who continue to pursue excellence in their wines.
Their high altitude vineyards, between 5,200 ft and 6,500 ft, are spread out over 689 acres. Cafayate wines like Torrontes, Tannat, Malbec, Merlot and Syrah are just some of the wines produced.
After the tour, another guide took over who did a great job in the tasting room and had us taste two of their wines for free.
There are daily guided tours of the vineyards and the winery and a tour usually lasts about 30 minutes.
We were pleasantly surprised by their Tannat reserve which was very enjoyable, well rounded and rich.
This gave us a renewed appreciation of Quara wines and especially their Tannat wines.
Address: Ruta 40 Km 4340, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, except weekends when it is only open until 3:00 pm
Pricing: Free tour with complimentary tasting of two wines
Pro Tip: For all wine tours, reservations are required.
10. Salvador Figueroa
Run by two young brothers, Salvador Figueroa is a small, well-crafted winery that prides itself on making old-fashioned wines.
With only 6.000 bottles a year, they managed to make a name in the Cafayate wine region as a winery not to miss.
Salvador Figueroa uses oak barrel-ages to age the Malbecs wines and give them a closer profile to those in Mendoza.
Their other two labels, the young Malbec and the Torrontes are worth trying, as well.
During our visit to the Cafayate wine region, Salvador Figueroa offered a very simple wine tasting.
There was no wine tours offered, and the focus was on their Torrontes and Malbec wines.
On your visit to the Cafayate wine region, don’t skip this up and coming winery. These wines, made with determination and focus are starting to make a name in the region.
Address: 20 de Junio 25, Cafayate, Salta
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Pricing: You get two glasses for only ARS$ 40 (approx. $0.36),
Pro Tip: While the tasting might be brief, the wines are worth getting to know. Relish every sip from the bottle.
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Best Tips To Plan Your Winery Visit in Cafayate
Here are our best tips to plan your tour and wine tastings when you visit Cafayate wine region in Argentina.
- Wine tasting in Cafayate Argentina is quite easy since the wineries are within walking distance. The province is rather small and dotted about with more wineries at every step.
- If required transportation, take a local taxi, which are easy to hail and inexpensive to use around town. Everything is pretty cheap in Cafayate Argentina so you should not worry about the extra cost of the transportation.
- Generally, there is no need to book a tour in advance. However, we recommend calling ahead of time to make sure the winery is open. Also, you might avoid the queues is you make a prior reservation.
- Be sure to taste artisanal wine ice cream or helados featuring Torrentes and Malbec flavors. A tasty and refreshing way to consume wine flavored ice cream in the heart of Cafayate.
- Stop At Museo De La Vid Y Del Vino. This is a museum in Salta Province dedicated to the wines from Cafayate. The first part of the museum describes the specificities of the wine region with a touch of poetry. The second part focuses on the birth of Cafayate as a wine producing region. A very nice and insightful experience and one we highly recommend.
We loved experiencing the best wineries in Cafayate, a hassle-free and easy experience. The tastings are also quite affordable and, in some instances, are free.
While the Mendoza wine region is the most well known in Argentina, Cafayate wines are also worth exploring.
The wines though are different and we cannot say that one region has better wines than the other. Both regions have their own specialities and it is evident in the wines.
For Torrentes and Tannat, you can’t go wrong in Cafayate. While for Malbec wines, there is no place better than Mendoza.
We recommend slotting these two wine-producing regions in your travel itinerary.
While in the area, be sure to explore the unique regional dishes in each of these Argentinian cities.
Have you ever visited Cafayate wineries? In the comments below, please let us know your favorite Argentinian wines.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest