We went to the town of Maipú outside of Mendoza to do a fairly standard bicycle trip through some wine tasting areas. The area is similar to Lodi, in California. It’s a working vineyard and agricultural area, yet also common for tourists to do the cycling wine tours, and the city has done a nice jobs of providing way-finding signs and some good bike lanes (separated from the traffic by a wide, two-inch tall curb).
There are huge old sycamore trees planted along the road, that provide great shade as you pedal around in the hot sun. We could also see the towering, snow-capped Andes to the west of the flat agricultural plan. There is a complex system of canals and ditches that bring snow melt from the Andes to irrigate all the vineyards and orchards, so there are little ditches along the roads.
Since it is harvest season down here, there were more large trucks on the road than we would have liked (especially after a few, or maybe that was many, wine samples). Fortunately, the little curbs helped keep everyone on their own portions of the road and we all made it home fine. Everyone is very friendly and the drivers are used to all the tourists and were very patient.
In addition to the vineyards, there are many almond, fruit, and olive orchards. There is also a small distillery and olive oil producer that we toured and sampled from. They had old presses and equipment, in addition to their new equipment to show off. We bought some sun dried tomatoes and olives to take home with us to eat later. One place has a museum with all kinds of old wine presses, barrels, hoopers tools and other tools of the trade. The tours show you how they used to make the wine and how it’s evolved to modern methods. Maipú is mostly interesting for the long history of wine and olive oil production. Some of the other areas make better quality wines, but this area has some really interesting historic stuff to look at, and it’s nice to pedal around while wine tasting.
Afterward, we stopped of at an old Italian winery to have diner. We had some very good cannelloni and chicken soup to help soak in a day of wine and olive oil tasting.