Salta wine tours: Cafayate & the Calchaqui Valley

Soar above the clouds and sample wine from the world’s highest vineyards.

Mendoza may be the star attraction in terms of Argentina’s most renowned wine destinations, but the northwestern region of Salta is a notable understudy for those willing to venture off track.

Settled high in the Lerma Valley at the foothills of the Andes mountains, the province is known locally as ‘Salta, La Linda’ – Salta, the beautiful – was founded by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and is now home to some of the highest-altitude vineyards in the world.

Salta is widely recognised as the epicentre of Argentina’s signature white wine Torrontés, although the region also produces full-bodied red varieties including Malbec and Cabernets – while Tannat has emerged as a popular grape grown in recent times.

More and more wine enthusiasts are taking Salta wine tours where they can experience high-quality wines produced by local bodegas that have been owned by the same families for centuries while benefiting from the expertise of consultant European winemakers.

The red rock mountains and looming cacti distinguish a breathtaking natural landscape complemented by exceptional weather – while the city itself features preserved colonial architecture along with cultural influences from Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay giving Salta wine tours a more exotic feel than many other regions in Argentina.

Wine tours from Salta are generally concentrated on the prestigious Calchaquies valleys and, in particular, the town of Cafayate – Argentina’s second most celebrated wine region. The fertile Calchaqui Valley hosts approximately 50 high-altitude bodegas scattered throughout the valley, which include the oldest working winery in Argentina.

Although Argentina’s most recognised grape, Malbec, is produced here, Cafayate is the land of Torrontés – the only 100% Argentinian grape variety, which excels in the dry heat, high altitude and cool evenings to create an incredibly perfumed dry white wine.

Our local experts can design exclusive Salta tours of the region, which can be tailor-made to meet your preferences while ensuring that every last detail is taken care of.

These include Salta wine tours of the Cafayate region allowing visitors to explore the picturesque valley where alpacas roam freely and locals still dress in the traditional colourful clothing of the altiplano (high plain), as well as the wonderfully relaxed setting and welcoming atmosphere of the town itself.

Of course, there is also the opportunity to sample wines grown at altitudes of over 3,000m above sea level and a bespoke local cuisine experience that allows visitors to pair wines with specialities including a traditional asado (BBQ) and empanadas or tamales in the bodega’s old colonial house.

Aside from tours in Salta, other attractions are the beautiful buildings of the colonial rule architecture, including the 18th-century Cabildo, the neo-classical style cathedral and the 9 de julio central square. Salta also used to be the starting point of the so-called ‘Train to the Clouds’ (Tren a las nubes), a sensational journey that at altitudes of more than 4,100m, crosses paths and bridges over green valleys and colourful mountain slopes with clouds below.

Read more about this region and others on our Argentina destination guide and start planning wine tours in Salta that will take you to a place in the clouds of the world’s highest vineyards.

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