If you’re in Mendoza from the 27th of February to the 8th of March 2021 be ready to party. That’s when the La Vendimia Mendoza Wine Festival takes place. The city explodes with vibrant, colourful festivities for an entire nine days.
What’s special about La Vendimia Mendoza Wine Festival?
The annual La Vendimia Mendoza Wine Festival is one of Argentina’s biggest and most important celebrations. It blends together tradition, religion, a touch of carnival and some impressive stage performances. What does it create? A spectacular and unique harvest festival of worldwide renown.
Other Wine Festivals include the Festa des Vermar in September, Binissalem, Mallorca
Bless That Grape
Date: February 27th, 2021 | Saturday
Time: From 9:00 PM
Place: Park Agnesi Theater
Without grapes there would be no wine. With that in mind, one of the most significant ceremonies of the Mendoza Wine Festival is the blessing of the fruit or Bendicion de los Frutos. Don’t think for one moment this takes place in the vineyards, it doesn’t.
It’s a massive outdoor stage event held in the Prado Gaucho, an open air venue in the public park of San Martin. The Bendicion de los Frutos, on Saturday the 29th of February is a little bit more than just a few prayers.
The Virgin and the Party
Dates: February 23th-27th, 2021 | Tuesday-Saturday
Time: From 10:oo AM
Place: Ludica Winery, Mi Terruño Winery, San Roque Church, Until San Martin (where it ends)
The arrival of the statue of the Virgen de la Carrodilla is accompanied by a thousand voice choir and a live orchestra.
The image of the patron saint of vineyards is carried through the crowds by a group of Argentine cowboys or Gauchos in traditional costume. They place her on a pedestal in a position of honour on the stage.
Symbolic offerings of baskets of grapes are then made to the statue before she’s blessed by the archbishop. Once the blessing is over, the real party begins. Expect to be entertained well into the night by presentations of folk dancing and traditional music before a massive fireworks display lights the skies above Mendoza.
Procession of the Queens
Date: March 5th, 2021 | Friday
Time: From 9:00 PM
Place: Central Streets in Mendoza (near San Martin)
Prior to the start of the La Vendimia Mendoza Wine Festival, each individual district in Mendoza will have elected their candidate for festival queen. On the night of the Procession of the Queens almost the whole population of Mendoza, plus a few more thousands beside, line the city’s pavements.
Led by the previous year’s winner, the beautiful aspirants to the title are driven through the streets on decorated floats. The Procession of the Queens is held on Friday the 6th of March. But the election of the queen doesn’t take place until the following evening.
The La Vendimia Wine Festival Parade
Date: March 6th, 2021 | Saturday
Time: From 10:00 AM
Place: Central streets in Mendoza (near San Martin)
Mendoza loves its processions so much one just isn’t enough. On the Saturday following the Procession of the Queens, the La Vendimia Parade draws everyone onto the streets once again.
The prospective queens are back on their thrones and their floats combine with a carnival-style parade to put on a noisy and colourful show which lasts for hours.
Be ready to join in with the marching bands and dance troupes, smile at some of the comic costumes and marvel at the Gauchos mounted in horse and cart. It’s a truly amazing day which could only be followed by an even more amazing evening.
The Big Event
Dates: March 6th-8th, 2021 | Saturday-Monday
Time: 10:00 PM (Saturday, main act), 9:00 PM (Sunday-Monday, repetition of main act)
Place: Frank Romero Day Theater
The big event of the La Vendimia Wine Festival traditionally takes place on Saturday the 7th of March. And when Mendoza puts on an event, believe it, they put it on big style.
Held outdoors in the Frank Romero Day Greek Theatre, which has a seating capacity of just under twenty thousand, it’s a very grand, world class spectacular.
Expect traditional music, folk dancing and theatre from over a thousand performers. Yes, the stage really is that big. Is that enough? Not for Mendoza.
Don’t forget your ticket:
There’s also performances from famous artists and the long awaited election of the festival queen. You’ll need to take a cushion to sit on as the seats are stone and this is one long extravaganza. Couldn’t get a ticket? No worries, you won’t miss out because Mendoza never does things once.
The big event or Acto Central is repeated for the following two nights, but without the festival queen elections. Tickets for the big event in 2020 costed (in Argentinian peso):
Malbec Sector – $600
Tempranillo – $450
Cabernet – $250
Bonarda y Chardonay – $200
For the second and third night – $180 all sectors.
So why La Vendimia Mendoza Wine Festival?
If you’re planning on attending the La Vendimia Mendoza Wine Festival you really will need to be prepared to party.
They don’t stop and it’s practically back to back celebrations for several days. There’s really only one thing you need to do to make sure you enjoy yourself and that’s raise your wine glass and say cheers – in Spanish, of course. Salud! Book your room now.
What are best wineries to visit in Mendoza? The best wineries you can find in Mendoza are: Archaval Ferrer, Bodegas López Mendoza, Bodega Los Toneles, Bodega Trapiche, Familia Zuccardi, Carmelo Patti
La Vendimia Tips
1# Pre ticket purchase
If you want to attend the Acto Centro on the Saturday pre-purchase your ticket online from the official website. They go on sale at the beginning of February.
2# Take something warm
The weather is warm in Mendoza during the daytimes in February and March.
Temperatures can drop significantly in the evenings so take something warm if you’re going to the Procession of the Queens.
3# Use local currency
The currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso. Dollars are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to get some pesos before you go.
4# Watch your step
Watch out for the irrigation ditches on the sides of the streets in Mendoza. They may be there to serve a purpose, which is watering the trees, but they’re an accident waiting to happen for festival goers.
What to Do?
Mendoza, in the north west of Argentina, displays its Spanish heritage with its broad streets and many plazas scattered throughout the city.
The fertile lands around Mendoza combined with the excellent climate is the perfect environment for vineyards.
The consistent high quality of the wine production in the region has given Mendoza the honour of being officially named one of the top ten wine capitals of the world. The city is also a popular stop over point for skiers and mountaineers heading for the slopes of the Andes and the Aconcagua Mountain.
Get An Aerial View
Take to the air with a tandem paraglide. Okay, if you don’t like heights it might not be right for you. But it has to be said, it’s a great way of getting to see Mendoza and the surrounding countryside from a bird’s eye view.
Ride up the Cerro Arco in an off road vehicle accompanied by your instructor. Have an informative briefing then buckle up and head for the edge. Feel the adrenaline thrill as you soar across the valley. It’s an amazing experience and you get to see the spread of vineyards dotting the landscape far below from a very unusual angle.
Vineyard Cycle Tour
If parasailing is just a bit too much of an adventurous way to view the Mendoza vineyards, get on a bike instead.
Rent a cycle or go on a guided cycle tour and pedal your way through the stunning acres of green vines backed by the stark snow-capped Andes. Stop off at a bodega or two for some tasting, but don’t over-do it. Drinking wine and cycle riding just really doesn’t mix.
City Tour By Night
While you might have been too busy enjoying the La Vendimia festivities to see much of Mendoza, there’s one way to remedy that.
Take a night time tour of the city. Not only will you see all the city’s main attractions beautifully illuminated, you’ll also discover some of the liveliest places to eat and drink in Mendoza. How better to end the night than with a visit to one of Mendoza’s world class casinos for drinks and a little flutter.
One good thing about going to the La Vendimia Wine Festival is your hotel accommodation is not going to break the bank.
All of the hotels mentioned below are within a few minutes walking distance of both the main procession routes and to the public park of San Martin where the big events are held. The festival attracts visitors from all over the world, so if you need a hotel room make sure you book early.
If you’re travelling a group and want to bunk up with friends to save expense, the Gorilla Hostel is ideal.
They’re got eight bed dormitories with private bathroom or four bed rooms with shared bathroom. It’s fresh, trendy and even has a swimming pool in the back garden. There’s a bar on site and breakfast is included. For around $25 a it’s a bargain.
If you’re in the mood for spoiling yourself with some five star luxury, then the Park Hyatt Mendoza is the hotel for you.
The deluxe rooms in this renovated Colonial building are pure class and have great views of the city through their picture windows. There’s a top notch Italian restaurant on site and a spa to help sooth away the strain of all the La Vendimia festivities.
Where to Eat?
Mendoza is not only internationally renowned for the wine it produces, but also for olive oil. To get a taste of what makes Argentine olive oil special try the restaurant Verolio.
They have a special olive oil tasting which is accompanied with focaccia and tasty tapenades. For hearty, but up to date food, try the Azafran Resto who have reinterpreted traditional dishes.
Their beef tenderloin served with its juices on a bed of creamy quinoa is delectable as is their roasted lamb loin served with char-grilled leeks and romesco sauce.
If you like your food simple, but wholesome, try the Chicken Milanese at El Mercadito. Served with potatoes, it’s just what you need after a long day of street festivities.
If you’re in need of a meat feast, you can’t go wrong with the mixed grill plate from El Asadito. If you want fish, they’ve got you covered. There mixed fish grill is amazing and big enough to feed two.
For those who like their food meat free head for the Govinda restaurant who specialise in vegan and vegetarian meals. Don’t let their Milanesa de soja or their Empanada Criolla escape you.
If you’re hungry but can’t decide what you want check out the buffets at the Cuenco Vegano. They’ve got everything from bean stews, stir frys and seitan based dishes.
How to Get There?
The city of Mendoza is served by El Plumerillo International Airport which is just outside the city.
To arrive there by plane you will need to take a connecting flight from either Buenos Aires or from Santiago in Chile. The flight times are one and a half and half an hour respectively.
From the Airport to Mendoza center
The best way to travel into Mendoza from El Plumerillo Airport is by taxi. It is by far the quickest method.
It takes around ten minutes at an approximate cost of $15. There is a bus service which runs every forty minutes from the airport into the centre.
The journey takes about one hour. To board the bus it is necessary to purchase a prepaid card. These are not available to buy at the airport.
There is no train or metro service from the airport into Mendoza. There is also no train service from other cities within Argentina such as Buenos Aires to Mendoza.
There are regular but lengthy bus services running to Mendoza from some major Argentine cities. From Buenos Aires the journey will take around thirteen hours and from Cordoba ten.
From outside Argentina
If you are arriving by bus from Santiago de Chile or Valparaiso the travelling times would be about seven hours for each.
The bus journey from Lima in Peru can take as long as three days and from Montevideo in Uruguay around twenty four hours.
All services terminate in the Terminal de Omnibus which is a few minutes from the city centre and within a short walking distance of all locations connected with the La Vendimia Wine Festival.
Notice road closures in Mendoza
Mendoza does have an inner city bus service. Most bus services which serve the areas of the La Vendimia Festival are disrupted due to road closures.
If you’re driving to Mendoza from Buenos Aires expect around a twelve and a half hour journey. From Cordoba approximately eight hours and from Santiago in Chile it takes about five hours.
Parking in Mendoza
Mendoza receives a massive influx of visitors for the La Vendimia. If you are arriving by car expect diversions and road closures.
Parking spaces are difficult to find so as not to miss out on any of the celebrations arrive as early as you can.
The La Vendimia Wine Festival is now celebrating it’s 83rd consecutive year. The festival was initiated in its present form in 1936, but its origins date back to the early seventeenth century and the harvesting of the first vines grown in the area.
As the magnitude of vine cultivation has increased so have the celebrations and as with all harvest festivals, it’s all about being thankful for a good crop.
In Mendoza they know how to say thank you big style. The La Vendimia is now not only Argentina largest harvest festival celebration, but one of the biggest in the world.