Bodegas and Vineyards Reading Time: 8 minutes
Cafayate, in the province of Salta, is well known for its wine, bodegas, and vineyards. Bodegas are scattered around the town center, and vineyards exist just a short walk outside of town, while others require a slightly higher than average taxi ride. Some require reservations, while others are walk-in, and have several free tours and samplings throughout the day. Here are five bodegas and vineyards I highly recommend visiting.
Stop One: Piatelli Vineyards
This is easily the most well-known bodega and vineyard of the area; it’s where everyone told me to go for wine when I mentioned heading to Cafayate. Because of its popularity, a reservation is absolutely required.
Piatelli Vineyards offers a variety of wine taste tests and other activities. See below for the various options including picnics, horseback riding, tours, lunch, etc. as well as timetables.
It seems the most common option, which is what we did, is to do a wine tour, a taste test, and then book a table (all in advance) for lunch. The tour lasts about 30 minutes, starting at the vineyard just outside. You’re then taken to three different rooms, shown charts about the process, get an explanation about the giant metal wine barrels (and wooden ones in the basement), before you’re then taken to the testing room.
The testing consists of several wines (white, rose, and red) from the province of Salta, and compared with those from the vineyard in Mendoza. You can select which types of wines you would like to sample, in order from least to most expensive: RESERVE (1000p), GRAND RESERVE (1200p), ICON WINES (1500p). The sampling portion lasts about 20 minutes, while the guide discusses the variations of the grapes, mouth feel, etc. Supposedly the tour is also in English, but I only experienced the Spanish version, and so dipped in and out of focus on what was being said, as I focused more on the wine than the words. The tour/tasting reservation must be made in advance.
The restaurant has a beautiful indoor dining area, as well as an outdoor patio. I was here in winter, but luckily on a sunny day, so it wasn’t quite so bad. In summer, I imagine the views must be incredible, as you sip wine while looking out over blooming grape plants. The reservation to eat must be made in advance. Note: be cautious that you are making your dining reservation for the bodega, and not the hotel, which is just next door.
If you walk here, it may take up to an hour or slightly more; It should be a 10 minute taxi ride, for around 800-1000 pesos from the center of town.
Stop Two: Cabras De Cafayate
CABRAS DE CAFAYATE:
While this is not a traditional wine bodega, it’s definitely worth a stop while you’re in Cafayate. This is a goat farm, that specializes in goat cheeses. Though the degustacion (tasting) gives a mix of both goat and cow cheeses. The owner of this goat farm is also the owner of the winery Domingo Hermanos, so you’ll get a glass of white wine along with your cheese plate (500p).
After tasting all the cheeses, take a stroll over to see the goats just around the corner. There are also several cats roaming around, hoping for scraps of cheese passed down. If you’re unlucky enough, one will scratch you and draw blood while begging for cheese, as I found out first hand.
This is about a 40 minute walk from town, but just a 5-10 minute taxi ride.
No reservation is needed.
Stop Three: Vasija Secreta
This is the oldest bodega and vineyard of Cafayate, and sits just across the road from the bus terminal right outside of town. The bodega is just off the main street, and behind it is a massive spread of grape plants with the mountains of Salta as a backdrop.
No reservation is needed at this bodega. It is easy to walk in for a free tour, which happens intermittently throughout the day. The free tour includes a short visit throughout the bodega followed by a small tasting of one white and one red wine. There are more experiences available, which are mentioned on their website, including tours of the bodega, the vineyard, and the museum, at varying price points. Reservations can be made online.
Stop Four: El Esteco
This bodega is just across the street from the Vasija Secreta, but down a long dirt road. You get the sense you are walking back in time as you near the bodega, surrounded by 1000 acres of vineyard.
No reservation is needed for wine tasting, or a free tour. However, there are several other types of experiences at this bodega and vineyard that do require a reservation, such as guided tours, nighttime tastings, horseback riding through the vineyard, etc. The majority of these activities are conducted only in Spanish unfortunately.
This bodega has a great front room where you can do self conducted wine tastings. There is a cabinet with 8 different types of wines (red, white, & rose), and with a special card you get from the reception, you can select which wine and the quantity you would like to try. Once you are satisfied, you simply take the card up to the reception and pay the total consumption.
Stop Five: Finca Las Nubes
FINCA LAS NUBES:
Getting to this bodega and vineyard will require a car or a taxi ride, as it is a bit outside of town, on the way to the Siete Cascadas. There is no public transport that will get here. The view from the bodega is incredible, as you’ll look out over the vineyards, with the mountains in the background.
A reservation is necessary to visit this bodega and vineyard in order to do the wine tasting and guided visits. The guided visits are in Spanish only, and cost 800p per person, including the tasting. There are 6 tour times per day: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14, 15:30, and 17:00.
Bodegas and Vineyards in Town
There are several bodegas right in the center of the town, easy to walk to, and which do not require reservations. All waiting for you to try them out. Here are a few great ones:
Bodega el Transito