San Juan province is the second city of the country for its volume of grapes and wine productions (the first one is Mendoza). Its capital, San Juan city, is 1,255 km. far from Buenos Aires and its vineyards grow 650 meters above sea level.
It has an invaluable paleontological richness, testimony of the most remote dinosaurs’ era; cradle of great argentine politicians like Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Fray Justo Santa María de Oro, Laprida and De La Roza and also with treasures that have the world heritage status, San Juan is an inexorable stop at the region of Cuyo. Its area of almost 90,000 square kilometers and its orography allows us to see the Andean mountain range along its chain-like front. There are high hills where mountain climbing is carried out: El Toro (6,160 m) and Las Tórtolas (6,328 m).
San Juan Vineyards
The capital city, founded in 1562 by Juan Jofré, proudly exhibits part of its cultural heritage such as the house where Sarmiento, considerated the father of argentine education, was born. There are also several museums.
The architecture is very modern, since the province was devastated by two earthquakes in the XX century in 1944 and in 1977 (Caucete), which is reflected in an exquisite combination of history, paleontology and XXI century modernity.
Its viticulture oases are in the Tulum, Zonda, Ullum, Jáchal and Fértil Valley, irrigated by the Jáchal and San Juan Rivers.
The Tulum valley is located between the Andes and Pie de Palo hills at the left bank of San Juan River. The average altitude is 630 metersabove sea level, the rainfall is scarce and the average temperature is 17 ° C.
This region produces very high quality typical sweet wines made from Moscatel de Alejandría, Torrontés, Chenin Blanc and Pedro Ximénez varieties. The Angaco Moscatels are also famous together with the rich, fortified wines which are local handicraft greatly appreciated.
With an emblematic vine stock of this zone as Syrah, San Juan has developed its viticulture, becoming one of the principal economies in the zone. As the second viticulture producer in Argentina, San Juan has more than 46,000 hectares of vineyards that are located from 600 meters above sea level in Tulum Valley to 1,400 meters above sea level at Pedernal Valley. The vineyards have irrigation technology and accurately agricultural work.
The better terroirs are Rivadavia, Albardón, Angaco, San Martín, 9 de Julio, Caucete, Santa Rosa y Pocitos, on the right side of San Juan River.
At an altitude of around 1,350 meters, the prestigious Pedernal valley stretches between Cerro Tontal and the Andean foothills. Crops are irrigated with water from springs. This area, ecologically suited for high quality wines, has been recently incorporated to the Argentine viticulture map. The varieties best adapted to this zone are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.
In Ullum Valley the varieties that adapt best to the traditional vineyards are Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. In the higher zones Sauvignon Blanc and red varieties like Tempranilla are cultivated with very good results.
Calingasta is in the highest zone (1.800 meters above sea level) between the Andean foothills and the central Andean mountain range.