Wine Style and Design - Argentina

The world's most striking wineries


With a clean slate, the Argentine wine industry was able to build a worldwide success story that was based on introducing new styles of wine. But the truth is there was more styling here than simply with the wines.

Not bound to ideas of traditional winery design and architecture, the Argentines have created a design aesthetic that is all their own. By incorporating the influences of these lands’ indigenous people, architects and winery owners alike have reintroduced buildings as an element of the landscape, rather than attempt to override the regions awesome natural design.

And the truth is with this expanse of glorious vineyards and the Andes Mountains as the backdrop, there are no better strategies than to create state of the art winemaking facilities and sheath them with the story, beauty and elegance of centuries of history.

Click here to see Argentina's most striking wineries

O. Fournier

A relatively young estate, O. Fournier has made a name for themselves with their striking winery installation. Recalling the roof of the world, this impressive structure. No expense has been spared, but with the vast majority of the building underground, for aesthetic as well as practical reasons,  the Fournier family was free to allow the visible portion of their winery to make a bold statement as seen here as well as on the stunning introductory image to this slide show.

Barrel Ageing at O. Fournier

One of the tricks of the O. Fournier winery is the use of light wells to illuminate the lower levels of the facility. These circular windows form a central shaft that serves as a corridor for both light and works as they access the large wooden barrels that ring the rooms. 

Belasco de Baquedano

Recalling the clean, precise lines of the Mayans, the winery at Belasco de Baquedano melds into the landscape with minimalist appeal. The apparently empty space seem to lure one into their coolness but hidden behind this impressive façade lies a state of the art winery.

Belasco de Baquedano

While Belasco de Baquedon is well known for their wines, the clarity of vision displayed within the facilities helps to complete a picture of the winery. The concrete fermentation vats, presented on two levels are an exercise in purity.  I think the room awes both winemaker and wine drinker alike.

The Aroma Room at Belasco de Baquedano

The experience at Belasco de Baquedon is not limited to impressive visiting wine makers and wine lovers though.  The Aroma room, also located within the winery, allows visitors to experience, in a pristine museum setting, the most common aromas that make wine so complex and special.

Unique dispensers allow one to disperse the intense oils that carry aloft the aromas of butter, toast, licorice or mint. Learning to identify these aromas is the lifelong passion of many a wine enthusiast, and doing so accompanied by these great wines can only enhance such an experience

Catena Zapata

One of the most familiar names in Argentine wine, Catena Zapata has helped to revolutionize the country's winemaking and open new markets around the world while firmly holding on to their Argentine roots.

The winery is instantly recognizable as Mayan influenced with it’s step pyramid form and gorgeous surrounding stonework.  Of course this is a working winery, but one can’t help but be reminded of the mysterious, gifted craftsman of the Mayan age who created such timeless wonders that even today their form is a natural fit in this landscape.

Catena Zapata - Argentine Beauty

Of course on the traits that set the Mayan style apart was their incredible stonework. Even without ornamentation, their walls, halls, and especial doorways remained graceful and elegant with masterful proportions. Much like the wines Lauraq Catena has been wowing drinkers with for years.

Slideshow View

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: kaddoum
    832064 2

    Besides being as beautiful or more than what Gregory wrote about Catena Zapata's Mayan headquarters building it ought to said that they produce high quality wines many of them reaching 98 both at Wine Spectators' and Robert Parker's evaluation.

    May 03, 2011 at 6:13 PM

  • I agree with Gregory´s comments, because most the new winerys and some of the old ones have created amazing buildings, in the incredible landscape of the andes.

    May 03, 2011 at 9:16 PM

  • I think we are thousands of miles from Mayan culture here in Argentina. Is there no vernacular architecture to draw from? These Mayan-inflected winery buildings look silly. Why not pyramids or Bavarian castles as inspiration if you are determined to clash with the spectacular landscape?

    May 04, 2011 at 3:31 AM

  • Snooth User: Flying 44
    697996 20

    I agree...Supposedly "Mayan"-type architecture is downright silly in Argentina! Why not have stayed closer to home and adapt Inca architecture instead? And in any case, the arches in the Catena building are NOT Mayan at all! Mayan arches were angular (like upside-down Vs - called "corbel" (or "corbelled) vaults") but never rectangular!

    May 04, 2011 at 2:33 PM

  • Cassandra, you are right about the style of the construction of some our wineries, but in the case of Catena´s "Mastaba" that is a pyramid without the triangle end, his idea is that these type of building are better to preserve the wines in it no matter how is the weather outside, and also he wanted to do it and he can afford it. But we have over 2000 wine companies in Argentina, so we can forgive Mr.Catena, especially because he makes excellent wines.

    May 04, 2011 at 6:43 PM

  • Snooth User: jodiehart
    832796 17

    Building or no building. I long to stand where they stand, smell what they smell, and taste what they are tasting. The thought delights me.

    May 04, 2011 at 8:15 PM

  • Snooth User: GteWhite
    834528 2

    Pyramid shape buildings … interesting concept indeed. Perhaps that is exactly what made wine making in Moldova so successful for approximately 5,000 years, and Cricova mines, the largest underground cellar in the world.

    May 06, 2011 at 9:34 AM

  • That is the idea.

    May 06, 2011 at 5:27 PM

  • Snooth User: GteWhite
    834528 2

    What I meant to say is that none of the above referenced places, Maldova or Cricova, have pyramid shape architecture; we can add to this same concept the wineries in France, Italy, and Spain, just to mention a few other countries which historically contribute/d to the making of among the best wines in the world.

    May 07, 2011 at 12:30 PM

  • Snooth User: Luscious
    71381 43

    Say what you want to say, but you can’t deny the stunning architecture against the spectacular scenery of the Andean mountains and their luscious wines. Needless to say, the wineries offer out-of-this world epicurean feasts and wine tasting experiences hard to match in other wine regions. Another winery worth mentioning is Bodegas Salentein, which has works of arts inside the winery and outside to match the dessert environment. The winery architecture in Argentina is a fusion of local and foreign influences. Many of the wineries have Spanish, French, and Italian partnerships; just like the wineries in Napa Valley where you can find French chateaus (Domaine Carneros), European cathedrals (Del Dotto Estate Winery), and even a Persian palace (Darioush). I do admit seeing a Mayan building in the middle of an Argentinian dessert was mind-boggling. When you walk inside you understand the reason behind the architect Pablo Sanchez Elias and Nicolas Catena Zapata, who wanted to pay tribute to the New World. :-)

    May 14, 2011 at 1:46 PM

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