Very close to the city, the taste for good wine and a Scottish game in which each player faces the course get together in a combination that bears fruit year round.
As we entered Algodón Wine Estates, we were surprised by the great distance we had to cover following an inner path surrounded by vineyards in order to reach the winery. Sierra Pintada and a portion of the Andes Mountain Range rose in the background.
Diego Coll Benegas, the winery’s development and tourism manager, was expecting us. After a warm welcome, he led us through the facilities. We got on a battery-powered vehicle and felt like children sitting under its elegant tarpaulin.
While we moved at a snail’s pace, Diego gave us a lecture on the various activities developed in the venue, supported today by a group of Argentinian and American businessmen. He also told us a history worth telling.
Ricardo Jurado, a well-known golf player, and his family arrived from Buenos Aires and became interested in these fields, where they settled down for good.
The passion for this game
Several ponds added interest to the scenery
The quality control area
70-year-old olive trees
In Love with the Environment
His local winemaking friends felt very enthusiastic about the project of organizing the first golf course in San Rafael. Thus, the first 9 holes were created. They no longer needed to travel to other latitudes to quench the passion for this game.
In the meantime, and taking advantage of the benefits of Mendoza’s soil, they performed agricultural activities and planted bonarda and malbec grapevines.
When Ricardo Jurado passed away, the estate passed onto his son, who bears the same name. Enterprising and passionate like his father, in 2002, he resolved to close the production cycle: to improve the vineyards and to open his own winery with the aim of making premium wine.
In 2005, the golf course was inaugurated and the estate was named Viñas del Golf (Golf Vines). The main house was turned into an accommodation venue, the winery was remodeled, a restaurant was built and an enological-tourist project was started.
It may be said that the winery and the golf course have parallel lives. Both residents of San Rafael and visitors enjoy this space, ideal to practice the swing and the third half at the comfortable club house and restaurant.
Leaving the Steppe behind
Several ponds added interest to the scenery and we learned that they were used for irrigation and consumption in the venue. As well, renewable energies are applied to keep the environment free from pollution.
At present, the lodge can accommodate up to 18 guests. The original materials of the adobe house with cane roofs and chimneys have been revalued and comfort services have been incorporated. We thought this was a perfect place to seize nature, quietness and to become friends with the golf clubs.
We made a halt and came close to the vineyards. As a part of the vineyards improvement program, grafts have been made to get new plants that may take the water and nutrients from the original root. In turn, the vineyards are covered with a kind of canvas to protect them from the hail.
Finally, we made out huge casks watching over the winery entrance. We went into a very comfortable room where the tasting sessions and meetings are held.
At the quality control area, we met Mauro Noscenso, the enologist. He told us: “I am responsible for interpreting the taste of our wine consumers. My job starts with the grape ripeness control together with the agronomist and it ends with tasting the wine”.
Mauro told us about the process from the arrival of the grape and the subsequent stages with lab controls, up to the commercialization of the product. Every year, February and March are the months in which work is at its peak: fermentation, controls, separation of white and red wine processes. Afterwards, we passed onto the cellar, with its shelves and casks.
The winery specializes in boutique wines, mostly exported to the USA and England. Bonarda and malbec are the premium grapes. These wines are aged for 12 months in casks. The varietals are aged for six months. At the same time, they hold a small craft olive oil industry of the arauco variety.
We found out something else about quality wine and, even though we did not play golf, we felt that every detail had been taken care of at the venue for nature to take hold of our body. Besides, we observed that the mountains on the horizon did not smother us. They just seemed to protect us.
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
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