Argentina ranks fifth among wine-producing countries worldwide. Argentinians drink an average of 10 gallons of wine per person per year, in the USA it is 2.4 gallons. Winemaking began here, as it did in Chile, in the latter part of the sixteenth century, with the Spanish missionaries and conquistadores who brought grape seeds and cuttings with them from Spain. Some vines landed in Chile or Peru first and were later brought overland to Argentina. And some vine varieties may have been born spontaneously – the result of natural crossing of European varieties that occurred in Argentina itself. Malbec is Argentina’s signature grape. Nowhere else in the world does Malbec rise to such heights of quality and richness as it does in Argentina.
It is the leading wine province, and the name of the province’s capital city, founded in 1561. The province and city named for Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, a sixteenth-century Chilean governor.