Tasting local wines was obviously on my to do list when traveling through Argentina, a top 5 player in the world of wine production. The Salta province in northwest Argentina may not be as famous as big brother Mendoza, but the wineries of Cafayate are a perfect break from an adventurous road trip in this beautiful region.
As soon as you get close to the town of Cafayate in the south of the Salta province, you can clearly see the landscape changing from mountainous brown-orange shades to lush green with overhanging trees, vineyards, sunflowers, lamas and gauchos. This cute town with less than 15.000 inhabitants is located in an area with privileged, unique circumstances, such as many sunshine hours, less than 200 mm rain per year at an altitude of at least 1600m. Warm days and colder nights. Perfect for the production of high quality wine!
Wine from Cafayate
The most produced and popular type of wine in Cafayate is the Torrontés, a delicious white wine that distinguishes itself by its intense citrus aroma and fruity flavor. White wine is my favorite and this Torrontés is a unique and special one that I never had before but love so much!! Like paradise to me! You can even get Torrontés ice cream in Cafayate! Also red wines like the Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat do well in Cafayate. Better go and taste some! Including high-end gastronomy. Harvest of the grapes is in February and March.
The wines from the Salta province are much more exclusive than from Mendoza, producing respectively 4% vs. >75% of the Argentinean wine.
There are a number of boutique style wineries that you and visit in Cafayate and its nearby surroundings. Most wineries are open between 09:30h and 18:30h, but check in advance the website or call. These vineyards really reminded me of my earlier visit to the wineries of Stellenbosch in South Africa, but with an Argentinean twist.
Finca Las Nubes
What a wonderful place this is! The lush green vineyards of Bodega Finca Las Nubes Jose L. Mounier are a pleasure to the eye. Riding your bike up the rocky hill at about 5 km southwest of Cafayate town is not easy, so you may want to get there by car or taxi. Sit down, taste some wine and snacks while watching the cute chill dogs in the garden and the wonderful valley view. Really liked the tranquil atmosphere and good Torrontés, Malbec and Rosado wines. Tours and tastings available in Spanish only. Cards accepted.
Address: El Divisadero, Cafayate 4427
El Esteco is a prestigeous, beautiful winery that produces award-winning wines in the Calchaquí Valleys, such as the Don David Torrontes Reserve and the red iconic Altimus. The winery is located at 1800m above sea level. Founders David and Salvador Michel, who French immigrants started in 1892, so there is a long history of wine making here. Tours and tastings are available in Spanish and English at El Esteco. Reservations recommended, also for lunch or dinner.
Address: Ruta Nacional 40 y 68, Cafayate 4427
Superb wine house with excellent restaurant, that is what you may expect from Piattelli, located about 5 km northwest of Cafayate town. It is relatively big and felt slightly California-ish, but it is an excellent place for lunch with Italian food in a garden full of purple lavender. Check the panoramic observation deck! Tours and tastings available in Spanish and English. It is also possible to follow a cooking class at Piattelli, in which you can learn how to make your very own empanadas. Reservations recommended.
Address: Ruta Provincial, 2, KM 3, Cafayate 4427
More wineries in Cafayate
And there are more wineries in Cafayate that are worth visiting:
- Finca Animana
- Bodega Domingo Hermanos
- Bodega Etchart
- Antigua Bodega Vasija Secreta
- Bodega San Pedro de Yacochuya
Museo de la Vid y el Vino
Got some time left in Cafayate on a quiet morning? Want to learn more about the wine production in Argentina? Then visit the local wine museum, Museo de la Vid y el Vino on the corner of Avenida Genral Guemes Sur and Chacabuco. At the end of the visit you can taste some wine. Explanation comes both in Spanish and English. Admission fee: ARS 100 per person.
Where to stay in Cafayate
You can easily spend a few days here tasting all the fantastic local wines in Cafayate. We stayed at Vinas de Cafayate Wine Resort, which includes a restaurant, pool, bicycles and vineyard view from the rooms! Riding a bicycle in Cafayate may seem like as good idea in combination with the wine tastings, but take into account it can be a bit challenging with the rocky, sloping roads in combination with the warm temperatures.
Tip: book your stay in Cafayate in advance, especially for January and February as Argentinians celebrate their vacations then too.
Map Cafayate wineries
This mobile friendly map includes most things mentioned in this article and more! It is smartphone friendly; you can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. To customize the map to your interests, simply (un)select categories. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.
How to get to Cafayate
Most likely you will fly to Salta Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport (SLA), for example from Buenos Aires or Iguazu (IGR). Cafayate is at the R40 south of Salta. Ideally you rent a car and drive to Cafayate yourself, which gives the most flexibility and freedom. Stunning landscapes along the way! I am a fan of Sunny Cars, an all-inclusive car rental concept with great service and insurance coverage for an affordable price.
- Cachi – Cafayate 160 km (min 4.5 hours)
- Cafayate – Salta 200 km (3.5 hours)
Wine tour from Salta
Alternatively, you can visit the wineries of Cafayate as a day trip from Salta, the capital of Salta province.
Estancia Bodega Colome
A few hours northwest of Cafayate, in the direction of Cachi, there is this remote wine cellar called Estancia Colome, one of the oldest in Argentina (since 1831) and a class of its own really. Estancia Colome has vineyards up to 3000 meters high and produces topnotch wines, especially the Torrontès and Malbec, which you can taste and buy at the estancia. Should you also want to have lunch, dinner and/or spend the night here, make sure you have a reservation or at least call before you take the ride to Estancia Colome. Next to excellent wine and food, enjoy the pool, tennis court and many trails for walking and horseback riding.
- Molinos – Estancia Colome 18 km (±35 min)
- Cafayate – Estancia Colome 130 km (±3-4 hours)
- Cachi – Estancia Colome 65 km (±2 hours)
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