Despite being all-too-often overlooked in favor of big-name European or North American brands, South America has been producing some of the world’s finest wines since as early as the 16th century, and both Argentina and Chile rank within the world’s top seven wine-producing countries. With vineyards dotted throughout the fertile lowlands either side of the Andes Mountains, wine tasting and vineyard tours have become popular pastimes in both countries and whether cycling around the family-run wineries of Mendoza or going behind-the-scenes at the legendary Concha y Toro winery, there are plenty of opportunities for wine tasting in Chile and Argentina.
South America’s largest center of wine production is in Argentin, and the most famous region is Mendoza, where wine connoisseurs can bike around the vineyards or take a wine tasting tour to Maipú, sampling some of the country’s best Malbec, alongside Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Torrontés. You don’t have to visit Mendoza to enjoy Argentine wines, though—the northern Calchaquí Valley offers an equally striking setting for touring the local wineries and is best visited on a day trip from Salta or you could combine wine tasting with a traditional cooking class as part of an unforgettable Buenos Aires dinner experience.
Over the border, Chile is best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere grapes and wine tasting tours make a great choice for a day trip from the capital. Visit the Concha y Toro or Cousino Macul wineries in the Maipo Valley, where the 100-year-old vineyards produce varieties like Carmenere and Chardonnay, or take a Colchagua Valley winery day trip from Santiago, stopping off at legendary wineries like Casa Silva and Viu Manent.