The magnificent winery is built in the shape of a giant cross, which, besides its architectural beauty, allows gentle handling of the grapes and reduces the distance wine needs to be moved during its production.
Through its glass dome, sunlight during the daytime casts a huge cross upon the center of the underground cellar, surrounded by 5,000 barrels of wine. Together with the solemn and august atmosphere in the tasting room, it lends a touch of sacredness and religiousness to the surroundings.
Attached to the winery there is also a world-class art museum that hosts exhibitions – some permanent and some temporary – throughout the year. The art pieces shown in the museum include contemporary works by both European and local Argentine artists.
Apart from the art museum, the winery also runs a restaurant and an inn that has a beautiful garden and a swimming pool. “More and more Chinese people are coming here during the hiking season every year, although the total number is very small,” said Maria Lorena Cepparo, customer relations manager at the winery.
The indigenous culture also has its own share of influence on the wineries. Catena Zapata, the winery owned by Nicolas Catena, a legendary figure in the country’s winemaking industry for helping to put Argentine wine on the world map, is a tribute to the ancient native Argentine culture.
The architecture of the winery, which looks like a pyramid, is inspired by the Mayan ruins of ziggurats in Central America, according to Laura Catena, Nicolas’ daughter, writing in her wine book Vino Argentino (Argentine Wine).
Restaurants are another highlight in any wine-tasting tours organized by the wineries. The Familia Zuccardi winery, one of the major wine producers and exporters in the country, is located a 30-minute drive east of Mendoza city and runs one of the largest restaurants in the area.