Mendoza

The Best Wine Is In Mendoza

After 90 days into my trip, it is time to leave Chile and move on to the big cities of Argentina. The first big city that I plan to visit is Mendoza which is almost fifteen hundred kilometers away from where I currently (Puerto Montt, Chile). Time to go to a gas station and start driving with my car and get back on the road.

The Natural border between Chile and Argentina are the beautiful mountains. After a few hundred kilometers, I arrived to the ‘seven lake route’ around Bariloche which is really impressive. One lake is more beautiful than the other, it is impossible to compare them even when they are so close to each other. By leaving this part, I saw that my car showed that I reached the ten thousand kilometers. I am proud of my car and without any problems, it brought me everywhere so far. But that evening, around sunset time, I was driving in the middle of nowhere, I still had to drive 200 kilometers if I wanted to reach the next town where I could sleep and with a good road that is not a problem to drive in, but the latter started to become really bad, I didn’t expect that at all. I don’t know for how long the road was going to be bad and if my car could handle all the bad stones on the road. Because if I get a flat tire, I would be too far from a town where I could solve that problem, even with an extra thin tire that I have with me. So, I prayed in my car and after ten kilometers a police car passed me with a really high speed and I thought that the only way I could get some help if I have a problem with my car was to follow them, I can turn on and off my lights to them and hope that they can help me. But their speed was so high that I took all my concentration and focus to keep close to them, and I am happy that I did. As I expected, after seventeen kilometers of bad road I got stuck in gravel. My second wheel couldn’t produce the necessary power to get out, I flipped my lights to sign to the policemen that I was in trouble, I hoped that they would see me in time to stop to help me. They did stop and four men came walking to my direction and they pushed the car back and took another less deeper gravel stroke and thank god that it was the was the solution. After 150 kilometers of bad road I started seeing lights of the next town and that gave me a smile was drawn on my face instantly. I arrived that evening at 11pm, after 4 hours of driving on horrible road. I took a cheap campsite and told the man where I came from and he said to me “you are crazy, you will have a good tonight”.

When I woke up the last part to Mendoza was not far anymore around 500 kilometers and that with daylight was not a problem. I made some drone shots about the bad and good road to give my family and friends a look on how it is here to drive and then I arrived to Mendoza. A lot of cars were around me It was a busy town, especially if you compare it to where I went, and I realized that I needed to be careful more and more. I parked in the center and ate some fruit in the car and thought “Oke Mike good job you arrived safely, what now, what the hell is it to do in Mendoza?”. I remembered that a Belgian couple that I had met when I was close to Ushuaia advised me to go to a specific winery. Mendoza is famous from its wine, but I am not really wine fan, I am not an alcohol fan. Usually I am out after drinking two glasses of normal beer haha. But I thought to give it a try, I booked it using AirBNB and saw that a lot of wineries were offering a tour, but I took the one that the nice Belgian couple advised me of and booked it for the next morning starting at 9 o’clock. First it was ten o’clock but then Martin (the tour guide) asked me online to replace it to another time because he had a meeting afterward with two Americans about wine. After taking some pictures of the city and a big walk of fifteen kilometers, I decided to sleep early because I knew that the next day would be a busy one. It was also my last day in Mendoza because after the winery, I had to start driving to Cordoba. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep that night because there was a party until 2am on the camping, which let me study my Spanish, but I couldn’t fall asleep due to the noise.

Sleepy but that changed when I thought about the wine tour that was waiting for me that day, I had energy again and I was feeling fresh. I checked some information online because I knew nothing about wine, I know it is made from grapes but that’s all I knew. After looking for information for a slight 5 minutes I decided to go, step in the car and start driving because I didn’t want to be late.
I arrived to a big open area with some tanks next to a lot of grape trees. I parked my car and introduced myself to Martin the salesman and guide. I had a private tour, which made it special and exciting for me. He started the story by telling me about how the process starts and that’s by planting a tree. I saw a lot of trees, Martin described to me how it works and that the balance of height and quantity of the grapes for the tree are unbelievably important. These two characteristics in the trees qualified the quality of the grapes and this is talking about only one tree. If you plant hectares of trees, it is key to have the same taste in every plant. By selling wine, a potential buyer is tasting the grapes in different places and it needs to be equal all the time everywhere on the field. To do that it takes almost fifteen years to have trees so you can manage the taste, this is not possible to do by young trees and it was at this point that I realized that Martin saw grape trees as humans. You plant a baby take a lot of care for it and in a field, you have a lot of them one is bad one is good one needs more attention and so on. After fifteen years, you can manage their behavior better and use the grapes without them tasting different from each other. During the process of making wine, I saw a lot of relation between humans for the world and grapes for wine.

If grapes are ready, which is exactly now the time of the year for Argentina (start of autumn: April) then they go with a truck to a machine. Where people take the bad stuff from the grapes and they are separated. After this, it is time to put them in a big tank, Martin uses tanks of twenty thousand liters which is impressive to see. In total, Martin has 360 thousand liters of tanks, and he called himself a small player in this area of the world. Martin prefers to be a specialist in one part of wine than to ship a lot with less quality. In the tank, the skin and the inside of the grape are separated, and this process is hard because you want all the taste from the skin and the inside and after that you have wine. Martin took two glasses and we started drinking from the first tank which was fresh from a week before until to almost the last one which was ready for sell. It was insane to taste the differences and it is really hard to describe that, but I hope you can imagine, it was unbelievably delicious. I was really flying in the sky when I tasted that wine and with the whole process and especially the treatment and patience you need it made it wonderful. I will, from now never skip a glass of wine anymore haha. I gave Martin a handshake and asked if I could take some pictures for my family and friends and then he said ‘Mike you are a nice guy, if you want you can join the meeting with the Americans’. I thought I became crazy, but he was serious and of course I said yes.
After fifteen minutes we arrived at the home of Martin’s parents, really wonderful people, especially the Mother (Marcela) I flew with my drone through their garden with grape trees and shared the pictures with them. Instead of saying beautiful shots they said ‘ow we need to put more water there in that corner and in that corner’ which made it really funny. The Americans came for a kid program in Mendoza and were interested Martin’s wine, which is true. His story and technique in making wine was really interesting. I told them my story and they were really impressed and that made me proud, before I realized I saw that my empty glass was filled again. Martin and I continued with drinking wine where we ended but now with two girls from America, Martin’s mother’s and uncle, a photographer and a wine bottle maker. He had a special bottle with him with a limit total of 2500. We drank a lot of bottles and all with different tastes we ended with the special limited one and it is used to let them out of the bottle a little bit so we started the lunch with that. I am smiling when I type this because I never ever expected a lunch or to like wine so much, but it was wonderful and I enjoyed everything. We had a chicken salad from a level that I never had, I am scared to write but I need to say that I even loved the cheese that they had (Parmesan). My mom said always “you will like cheese one day” I said no I am not going to, but 12 April 2019 it became true haha.
While drinking some water, we spoke to each other about everything, I could understand Spanish and they could understand me. It was a perfect environment and a lovely place to be and felt at home there. I realised that being in a place where you feel good is unbelievable important when you want to study a language or something like that. The mother and son (Martin) of the house invited me to come back and after sharing our numbers, I left with big wave after having spent eight hours with Martin. I didn’t have time to make some pictures or videos for my vlog so I went back to the winery where the day started. With a huge smile on my face, I left Mendoza, one of the best days of my trip so far.

Mendoza was amazing, I will come back there that is for sure….