Wine-growing is possible along almost half the length of the Andes (between the 25th and 40th parallels). The vineyards arise like cooling oases in otherwise desert-like terrain.
It is possible to grow a wide range of varieties of grape here because of the big difference in day and night time temperatures. Argentina has five large wine areas.
From north to south, these are:
- SaJta/Cafayate that lies just below latitude 25 degrees south, along the banks of the Rio Sali, between the towns of these names. Wines such as Cafayate and those of the renowned Etchart Bodega come from here.
- La Rioja/Chilecito which lies just below 30 degrees south. This area is known for its Bodega La Riojana wines.
- Mendoza is undoubtedly the best-known wine area of Argentina. It lies above the latitude 35 degrees south, on the banks of the Rio Mendoza and Rio Tunuyan, and is known for numerous good bodegas such as Etchart, Nieto y Senetiner, Trapiche, Norton, and Flichman.
An area within Mendoza is regarded by insiders as the area with the greatest potential for the twentyfirst century. This is Lujan de Cuyo to the south-west of the town of Mendoza, which produces outstanding Malbec wines with its own denomination of Lujan de Cuyo. Given the significant levels of investment by the major wine producers and distillers it is apparent that something important in terms of quality is happening here.
- San Rafael, lies along a latitude of 35 degrees south, between the Rio Diamante and Rio Atue!. Only the wines of Bodega Goyenechea are known to some extent outside of Argentina.
- Rio Negro, the most southerly area, lies just north 40 degrees south on the banks of the Rio Negro.
Wines from this area are hardly known outside Argentina.