Situated in the north part of Argentina, the Salta wine region amazes people with its vineyards in the Andean landscapes. Three countries border the province of Salta: Paraguay and Bolivia to the north and Chile to the west. Amid the high peaks of the Cordillera de Los Andes, Salta has the highest altitude vineyards worldwide, some over 3 000 meters (9 840 ft) above sea level. The red grapes Malbec and Torrontes – emblems of high-quality Argentinian wines – are also the signature wines of Salta. The weather and climate in Salta provide large diurnal temperature ranges, creating wines of intense flavor, balanced acidity, and phenolic ripeness.
The history of the Salta wine region began in the 16th century when the Jesuit missionaries started planting vines with grape seeds from Peru. The climate conditions were the key to the success of these originally primitive vineyards. The precise combination of altitude and latitude allows the necessary heat during the day and cold during nights, proving excellent ripeness conditions. The Salta wine region produces just over 1% of Argentina’s wines, ensuring unique experiences for those wine lovers interested in it. Furthermore, the high altitude hills enable the development of delightful perfumes and intense colors in the grapes.
The vineyards are continually developing and improving, in such a way that the varieties grown in the Salta wine region – Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Tannat – combine class and authenticity. Around sixty percent of the grapes under vine are the Malbec variety, the flagship of Salta wines. On the white side, great respect is given to the Chardonnay and Torrentés wines of Salta. Those wines are synonyms of premium quality and astounding taste. The white grapes occupy around 35% of the land in the region.
With around 203 mm/year of rainfall, the mountains assure an extra water supply through meltwater dropping down from the snowy peaks. The outstanding performance of the vines is also a result of the sandy-loam soils, which are formed by thick particles of fine sand and gravel. These conditions allow the development of grapes with excellent phenolic ripeness and balanced remaining acidity. The wines of the Salta terroir perform bright and intense flavor.
Distinctive Territories of Salta Wine Region
Spread through the fertile land of the Calchaquí Valley, the essential wine sub regions of Salta areCafayate, El Arenal, and Molinos.
The most important sub region of the Salta wine region is Cafayate, the main wine producer. Around 60% of the vineyards in the Calchaquí Valley sits there.
The elevation of Molinos‘ vineyards reaches up to 3000 meters above sea level. This particular valley has been drawing attention for its high-quality wines and eccentric terroir.
Almost two thirds of the region grows red grapes, the remaining being white varieties. However, about 1% of the land is dedicated to producing Criolla Chica, a pink grape.
Wines to Try in Salta Wine Region
The Malbec red wines represent the best of the Salta wine region. The climate characteristics in the hills and valleys create ideal conditions for high-quality grapes. Intense and bright flavor, deep dark color, black-fruit aromas, and mature tannins dominate the wines of Salta.
Wines made of Tannat are full of high natural acidity and bold tannins. On the nose, the red mature notes intertwine with fig and menthol. Cabernet Sauvignon wines mix good tannin structure, equilibrated acidity, and ripe currant aromas.
A unique aspect of Salta wines is the white grape Torrontés Riojano, a completely Argentinian variety. This variety, when growing in the Cafayate Valley, produces fine wines with a fruity and dry body.
Estancia Los Cardones Winery is located in the northernmost part of Salta wine region. Vineyards of the estate situated in the steep slopes of Calchaquí Valley, which offers splendid location for the cultivation of various grape varieties.
Come and visit Estancia Los Cardones and try wines that are outcome of mineral rich soils and the hard work of the Saavedra Azcona Family.
Tukma is the family-run, boutique Winery, located in Calchaqui Valley of Salta wine region, relishes one of the best ecosystems with rich biodiversity for the cultivation of grapes to produce premium quality wines.
Tukma winery provide not only wines but also has the accommodation and dining facilities in the estate-owned hotel & restaurant, Altalaluna.
Vasija Secreta, that date back to the mid 19th century, is a family winery in the beautiful town of Cafayate.
Exquisite wine trip in The winery Vasija Secreta includes visit of the museum, where you will be introduced to the history of winemaking and finish your trip with tasting wines directly from the barrels.
Have a look at our selection of Wineries in Saltawith open cellar door and the greatest hospitality!
Places to Visit in Salta
City of Salta – The Heart of the Province
When you visit Argentina and the Salta wine region looking for delightful wine tastings, an excellent idea would be to take time to enjoy the city of Salta. Founded in 1582 by the Spanish, Salta is the 7th largest city in Argentina. Resting in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, the city is 1152 meters above sea level and is known for generally excellent weather. The tourists of Salta can appreciate the old architecture of the colonial time, as well as the natural scenery of the valleys westward. It’s not something to forget!
The small city of Cachi – Where Nature Meets the City
Cachi situates on the Calchaquí Valleys in Argentina, 163 km from Salta. Here, tourists can enjoy hiking and climbing through the mountains while appreciating the view of the 5000-meter-high snow-covered summits. The city center is rich with colonial architecture and adobe white houses. Besides that, the high-altitude vineyards can offer unforgettable wine experiences. Tourists shouldn’t miss this city.
Museum Tour in the Salta Wine Region
Getting to Know the Roots of the North
Another place that tourists should try when visiting the Salta wine region is the Museo Histórico del Norte. It is part of a museum complex alongside the President José Evaristo Uriburu National Museum and the Posta de Yatasto Museum. These three places tell the history of Salta, displaying elements of indigenous culture, pieces of sacred art, and more. Distinct articles of the colonial period are exhibited, such as furniture, old cars, and historical documents.
Hidden Gem – The Tren a las Nubes
The Tren a las Nubes, Spanish for “the train to the clouds”, offers an incredible journey through the north region’s countryside. The incredible landscapes are as amazing as the engineering of the railways itself. Don’t miss the gigantic desert canyon from the La Polvorilla Viaduct, a natural treasure. Tourists can enjoy it normally from April to mid-December, on a full-day trip from morning till night.
Discover the Natural Wonders of the Salta Region
The vistas of the Salta wine region inspire tourists more than just in wine tours. The landscape, flora and fauna of the northern part of Argentina are not found anywhere else on earth. The vast wilderness of the cactus deserts and the white salt plains are breathtaking.
Las Salinas Grandes – Visit the White Desert
A fascinating natural site in the Andean highlands is the Salinas Grandes. Located between the provinces of Salta and Jujuy, 4000 meters above sea level, the white desert made of salt is one of the most fascinating natural wonders of northern Argentina. It can make for some amazing and mind-boggling pictures, so don’t forget to bring your camera. The salt plains are the perfect scenery for incredible photos!
Parque Nacional Los Cardones
Traveling Through the Gorgeous High-Desert Territory
Another natural wonder of the Salta region is the Parque Nacional Los Cardones. The site was founded back in 1996, spreading across 65 000 hectares of protected land. The scenery reminds you of the spaghetti-westerns of old movies, surrounded by campestral cacti in a wide panoramic sandscape. The park owes its name to the cardón, a kind of candelabra cactus. This wonderful park is well worth the visit!
Baritú National Park
The only tropical park in Argentina
The Baritú National Park is located in the Santa Victoria Department, in the Northwest of Argentina. This remote land hosts magnificent tropical waterfalls and creepers, adorning steep hills. The ridged land blends with the Andean Mountains cool climate vegetation to create a dense green forest. Home of bears, sloths, and jaguars, the park is doubtless a natural treasure.
Dishes to Try in Salta
Empanadas Salteñas – Typical Food that Wins Everyone’s Appetite
People say that the empanadas salteñas are the most famous hearty snacks in Argentina. A delicacy for every moment of the day, it is served daily, from homes to festivals. The dish is made of soft flour dough with a meat filling. Baked in clay ovens, the empanadas may have different seasonings through regions and family traditions, but they will always be a tasty choice.
Humitas – A Traditional Food of South America
This dish was born in pre-Hispanic time, originating with the native Americans. A food appreciated not only by the Argentinians, it is culinary tradition of people in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Prepared mainly with corn, it can also have sautéed onions and different spices. The cooking process is interesting: the corn husks are stuffed and then boiled. It is delicious food to the mouth as well as the eyes.
Locro – A Warm Explosion of Flavors
A popular dish amidst the Andes mountain is Locro, which is a hearty thick squash stew. This dish is common among different South American countries, associated with the native population. The plate is a soup consisting mainly of squash, corn, beans, and potato or pumpkin. If tourists reach the Cuyo region by May 25th, they may be lucky to taste this food, served at the May Revolution anniversary festival.
Share about Salta Wine Region:
Soil: Sandy-loam soils, alluvial with sandy topsoil over a clay base
Climate: Subtropical highland climate, warm and temperate