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Buenos Días from Buenos Aires: Wining down in Mendoza

Happy pre-finals week. I’m sure you’re excited to start summer. In Argentina, I am on week seven of the semester — not even halfway done, but I’m glad I have more time. There’s still so many things to do! I just got back from a weekend trip to Mendoza, which was amazing.

It started off a little shaky. At 3 a.m., a man across the aisle from me on my 17-hour bus ride decided to drink and then throw up in the aisle and the seat next to me, which another guy occupied. My seatmate had vomit on him, but luckily he brought an extra pair of pants in his carry-on. With vomit on the seat, we no longer had a place to sit and joined the bus driver. Despite having to occasionally sit on the stairs by the bus driver when the other driver woke up from a nap, it turned out OK when we drank mate, a traditional South American drink similar to tea, with them and watched the sun rise together. It seemed very surreal as we passed mate back and forth and talked about our lives.

Mendoza was beautiful, and I had a lot of fun. I went with two other friends and stayed in a cozy hostel. We made friends with people from Brazil, Colombia, France and Australia, and, the second night in the city, we all night-hiked up a mountain to see the lit-up city, which was much larger than we thought. The hike was amazing because it gave me the opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world. It never ceases to excite me how traveling to a place lets you meet other travelers who tell you about their own countries and travels, letting you learn about other places beyond the city you’re visiting. It’s like second-hand traveling.

We tried to do as many activities as possible in our three days. My two friends and I decided to go whitewater rafting in Río Mendoza, which was very cold but a lot of fun. Sunday, our last day, my friend and I booked a biking wine tour that took us to two different bodegas (vineyards) and included a six-course tasting menu with wine pairings (the drinking age in Argentina is 18). One guy ran the tour, and it was just the three of us. He drove us an hour away, past dozens of beautiful vineyards that were changing colors with the fall. It made me realize just how much wine comes from Mendoza.

Ninety-four percent of the total grape crop in Argentina is in Mendoza Province, and 1.51 billion liters of wine were made in 2014 in Argentina, according to the Global Agricultural Information Network. However, wine from Argentina makes up only 6.2 percent of imported wine in the United States.

The wine tour definitely helped open my eyes to different kinds of wine and how each one is produced differently, and the six-course tasting lunch confirmed my love of food and wine together. Mendoza has so much to offer for everybody, whether they like to be in nature or just sit at a vineyard and drink wine. They also don’t have to even like wine. My friend is allergic, but she still had a great time. Mendoza was a great break from city life, and it confirmed my love for many things— food, friends and wine. 

Jessica Hill is a sophomore studying journalism and global studies. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have you ever been to Mendoza? Contact Jessica at jh240314@ohio.edu or tweet her @jess_hillyeah.

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