Cafayate wine: a charming alternative to Mendoza

Last updated on January 11, 2024

Central square in Cafayate wine town

After a slightly treacherous but splendid time in Mendoza, we were intrigued to hear about Cafayate – a smaller wine region in Argentina, most famous for its Torrontes white wine.

As a bigger fan of white than red, this peaked my interest even further and we decided to take a look. What greeted us was a charming town with incredible scenery, the best empanadas in Argentina, friendly animals and delicious Cafayate wine. Here’s our trip in photos.

Torrontes and Malbec ice-cream in Cafayate

When we arrived in Cafayate, we made a beeline for the nearest ice cream parlour to try some of the famous Cafayate wine ice cream. We tried both the Torrontes and the Malbec. The white was definitely our favourite and spurred us to wish there were more alcohol ice-cream flavours. Caipirinha flavour would be lush.

Enjoying Cafayate wine

In the evening, we met our friend Erin who had been with us while whale watching in Puerto Madryn. We went to the Casa de Las Empanadas (Calle Mitre, 24), which had been recommended by fellow bloggers Never Ending Voyage.

Wine and empanadas at the Patio de las Empanadas

It turned out these were our favourite empanadas yet. There were five vegetarian options including an amazing one called the Griega with olives, tomatoes, cheese and spinach.

Dog on the dusty roads of Cafayate

The next day, we headed out to the goats cheese farm, about a 20-minute walk out of town. Along the way we passed some awesome dogs…

Horses on the way to the goat cheese farm

…and a beautiful, friendly horse who walked over to say hello.

Mountains around Cafayate

The farm was closed but due to open in 20 minutes. We waited and waited but no-one came. At least the view was gorgeous.

Purple fractal cabbage plant

And we did get to see this crazy purple cabbage plant.

Fine ice-cream at the Heladeria Miranda, Cafayate

After so much waiting, it was time for more ice cream at the recommended Heladeria Miranda.

Pink Grapefruit ice cream at Heladeria Miranda

The accolades aren’t exaggerated. The ice-cream was perfect – especially the pink grapefruit.

Salvador Figueroa in Cafayate wine town

Next up was the vineyards. We didn’t feel like riding so stuck to the ones in walking distance. First stop was Salvador Figueroa, a tiny family-run bodega wine maker that makes just 5,000 bottles of Malbec and Torrontes per year using hand-operated equipment. We tried three of their tasty reds.

Cafayate Wine selection at Bodega Transito

It was over all too quick so we headed to the next winery, El Transito – a modern bodega that lets you try three of their Pietro Marini Cafayate wines for free. It’s great that it’s free but the atmosphere is a little sterile and unfriendly.

On the Ruta del Vino in Cafayate, Salta

Our fourth stop –Bodega Nanni– turned out to be our favourite – both the wine and the bodega itself. The torrontes was my favourite – deliciously fruity to smell and crisp to taste.

Wine tasting at Nanni in Cafayate wine town

All the wine is organic and the guide took us through the whole process expertly.

Wined out in Nanni

Nanni also has a beautiful garden where you can rest after the tour…or sleep in Steve’s case.

Bottle of Torrontes at Domingo Hermanos, Cafayate

Our final stop was Domingo Hermanos where they luckily gave us some goats cheese from the farm we’d tried to visit earlier. We also got to try three wines while overlooking the vineyards.

A little bodeguita by the roadside in Cafayate

On the way home, we saw a tiny bodeguita (see what we said about Argentina being the sweetest country in the world?) seemingly manned by a little girl.

Victoria and Pepina in the Patio de Empanadas

To round-off a beautiful day, we couldn’t resist returning to the Casa de las Empanadas. An excellent thing happened while there when a tiny dog came in, took one look at me and scrambled over Steve onto my lap. We thought maybe she wanted food but instead she immediately curled up and went to sleep. We called her Pepina and she completely made my day.

All in all, we found Cafayate to be a much more relaxed alternative to Mendoza. We were charmed by the scenery, wowed by the empanadas and delighted by the wine.

In our next post, see the spectacular scenery surrounding Cafayate in the incredible Quebrada de Cafayate.

Horse outside Cafayate

Cafayate is a four-hour bus ride away from Salta. The journey passes through the spectacular Quebrada de Cafayate so make sure you don’t fall asleep. Buses run at least twice a day. We stayed at Ruta 40 Hostel, which was clean, cosy and friendly, with a cute central courtyard and bar. It cost 90 pesos for a shared dorm.

You can get a map of the town and all its bodegas from the tourist information hut in the main square.

12 thoughts on “Cafayate wine: a charming alternative to Mendoza”

  1. I will be traveling all over South America starting in November and will definitely be adding this to my ever expanding list! Looks amazing!

  2. We loved Cafayate so much – glad you enjoyed the empanadas and icecream. We’ve never been anywhere where the wineries are so easily reached on foot which makes it much easier. It’s actually somewhere we’d consider spending a month or so when we next make it to South America.

  3. I visited Cafayate about four years ago and loved it! I had forgotten all about the Casa de las Empenadas–that’s the place with writing all over the walls, right? Their empenadas were indeed delicious. And the goat cheese farm was great–it’s what convinced me to start even liking goat cheese! This was also the town where the hostel owners fed us steak and wine upon our late arrival and then took us to a local harvest party where some apparently famous Argentinian heartthrob singer was performing. Ah, this post really has me taking a trip down memory lane. Love it. 🙂

  4. I stumbled upon this blog a little while ago and instantly fell in love with it, and made sure to add it to my bookmarks. Only problem was – I didn’t really add it my bookmarks.
    I really wanted to find it again, but I couldn’t for my bare life remember the name of your blog. I tried to search around, with absolutely no luck. I thought all was lost, but then I remembered this little post and tried searching for Cafayete and wine ice cream. I mean, how many blog posts could possibly have been written about this? And there it was, finally!

    So now I’ve properly bookmarked your site (I’ve double checked, it’s there!) and I’ll continue to follow your adventures. I absolutely love your pictures, and the beautiful color tones they have. And you’ve given me ideas of places to go to – that I’d never heard of before – for when I head to Argentina in January. So thanks, and keep up the great work :D!

    • Hey Asta, I’m so pleased you found us again , and thanks for the lovely compliments. Do let us know if you ever have any questions about Argentina. It’s a really amazing place! Happy travels 🙂

  5. Unique perspective. My thanks for writing that. I will definitely return to this site to see what’s new and recommend my neighbors about your writing.

  6. Love Salta! The wines are mostly white and have a unique taste that is unlike any white I have tasted. You either love it or hate it. Most Argentinians claim the Salta and Jujuy are is their most loved region because of the indigenous connection which is a vast difference from the Spanish dominated other regions. Love the blog as usual – thanks for sharing.


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