The Fiesta de la Vendimia – Harvest Fest  – March 2 - 11 ,  the largest festival of its kind in Latin America, marks the end of harvest in Mendoza.  It is a colorful and picturesque celebration of wine and food in a city that can undoubtedly claim the title of Latin America’s  Capital of Wines.


mendoza gauchos

mendoza peopleWeeklong  you can see women in folkloric  “criolla” garb with long tresses and long, 19th Century peasant dresses roaming  the cobbled streets of the town’s center,  and splendid gauchos proudly strolling, their “facon” or knife tucked  into their wide coin-studded belts and their colorful scarves knotted under their chin.  Freshly baked empanadas and tasty “asados” are the fare of choice as wine generously flows everywhere to the sound of folk-songs, tango and guitar playing.

The festival is kicked off by the traditional blessing of the fruit, and is followed on the following weekend by numerous parades .

mendo showIt is a sight to see hundreds of gauchos in full regalia stomping down the main street and Beauty Queens waving from the crest of floats decorated with insignia from each wine appellation. The Festival ‘s grand finale is a major show in a large amphitheatre.  When I attended a few years ago, the then president of Argentina was in the midst of the audience, applauding  the group of over 1,000 performers bowing on the 13,000 square-feet stage.


(Click to watch a video on


mendozabackThe Vendimia is a good pretext to discover the city of Mendoza  with  its restaurants and picturesque cobbled streets,  and of course the vineyards and wineries of the many appellations that produce the wines we love to drink,  including those of Luján de Cuyo, Maipú, Valle de Uco or San Rafael , which are spread along the foot of the Andes at different altitudes.  It is a kind of Raiders of the Lost Ark ride in a desert  moon-like scenery that   makes for an unforgettable experience, at the end of which you get to drink amazing wines accompanied by delicious local ingredients and cuisine.

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