Destination Guide


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Courtesy of Casa de Uco

Surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Andes and their melting glaciers, the Mendoza wine regions receive more than 300 days of sunlight each year and very little rainfall.


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Living Room at The Vines Resort & Spa, Mendoza, Argentina

The Vines Resort & Spa

Before they dreamed of opening a hotel, Michael Evans (a California transplant) and Pablo Gimenez Riili (a Mendocino winemaker) co-founded The Vines of Mendoza—a co-operative whereby enthusiastic amateurs from around the globe could become long-distance vineyard-owners and even winemakers. Vineyard shares would include a small parcel of prime terroir on their Uco Valley estate, along with access to its state-of-the-art winemaking facility and expert team. Almost ten years later, Evans and Gimenez Riili have 135 members, many of whom fly in throughout the year to plant different varietals, participate in the harvest or develop new blends with the staff's assistance. Until recently there were few hotel choices here, but as of early 2014, co-op members can have a luxurious sleep within steps of their grapes. And so can we; The Vines Resort & Spa is open to owners and oenophiles alike.

While the villa tally at The Vines is currently only twenty-two, it is a "resort" in the truest sense—and one with an even richer profusion of amenities than the moniker typically suggests. There's a destination restaurant that draws starry-eyed epicures from hours away, a knockout pool with heart-stopping Andes views and a glass-walled fitness center that's ensconced in the vines, but also elevated, giving joggers the illusion that they are floating over a vineyard-sea. The spa offers a collection of exclusive products by niche perfumery Fueguia 1833 (villa bathrooms are already stocked with the company's sublime soaps and shampoos).

As if this resume needed any further padding, there are also possibilities of harvesting alongside the property's agronomist, private blending lessons with the in-house oenologist and networking with Mendoza's wine cognoscenti. The project's consulting winemaker, Santiago Achával of Achával-Ferrer, opened a satellite winery in "Winemakers Village", a sort of artists-in-residence program for local winemakers—a venue where they can experiment and share ideas, both with each other and the resort's guests.

Though the property's layout gives it something of the feel of a resort community, with paved sidewalks linking strands of adjacent villas, interiors offer unqualified peace and plenitude. Furnishings are plush and contemporary, done in a quiet wood and stone palette that draws the lush colors of the western skyline inside through massive floor-to-ceiling windows. The softly distressed leather sofas, draped in sumptuous textiles from the north—and the fireplaces laid with hand-cut stones found on property—could redeem the dreariest of afternoons. But cloudless days are far more likely here, and sprawling decks are equipped with every imaginable convenience for outdoor living, including enormous sunset-facing tubs and fire pits where Francis Mallmann's parrilleros can choreograph a private asado.

This is not the kind of hotel where many things get lost in translation, but just in case, the resort assigns a "gaucho" to each guest. Equal parts personal concierge, camp counselor and generous host, your gaucho will coordinate a behind-the-scenes cooking demonstration with the chefs at Siete Fuegos, teach you how to drink mate like a local, and make sure you're awake—and sufficiently bundled in ponchos—in time for your sunrise horseback ride.

Exterior Lounge at Casa de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Casa de Uco

Family-owned and -operated, Casa de Uco occupies a lush 800-acre property—nearly 200 of which are vineyards—in the Uco Valley, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Set among bucolic lagoons, the resort is a architectural marvel; the eco-friendly hotel makes use of natural materials and even boasts a rooftop garden, which doubles as an open-air observatory. The hotel restaurant is helmed by a local chef from Mendoza, who takes great care in the sourcing, preparation and presentation of the hotel’s farm-to-table dishes.

The 16 rooms and suites feature the same clean aesthetic as the rest of the hotel, with crisp white linens and sand-colored wood walls. All of the suites boast a wall made entirely from glass, which provides a breathtaking panoramic of the region’s landscape. Currently, all rooms are situated in the main hotel building, but plans are underway to construct stand-alone villas scattered throughout the vineyards.

Although it is wine country, Casa de Uco has many activities for those who don’t want to spend the day going from tasting to tasting. Guests can play tennis, enjoy the pool, spend an afternoon in the spa or hike or go horseback riding in the surrounding terrain. Those looking to experience the best vintages and some adventure can embark on a horseback wine tasting.

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