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    South by South America Tour – Argentina Part 19

    Saturday, August 17, 2019
    Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina

    This bus may be green, but it's definitely not environmentally friendly. Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    This bus may be green, but it’s definitely not environmentally friendly. Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A sign made out of egg yokes in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A sign made out of egg yokes in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Rust Study #8759826, site specific oxidized painted metal doors in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Rust Study #8759826, site specific oxidized painted metal doors in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Soon after noon, I jumped on a Metro Tren trolley down to Maipu, a small town a few miles southeast of Mendoza. Maipu is the epicenter of an important and world renowned wine growing region. Exiting the trolley at the last stop, Guitierrez, in Maipu, I stared at and took a few photos of some maps of the region on a wall. A nice young man and lady who worked at the trolley stop could tell I was puzzled and asked me where I wanted to go, so I handed them a small flyer for Maipu Bikes. They gave me a big map of the area and wrote down directions for me, which was super helpful. They said it was two or three kilometers away and that I should take bus 812 over there, but I just set out on foot instead.

    The bicycle I rented from Mr. Hugo in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    The bicycle I rented from Mr. Hugo in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Carla Petrus, the tour guide at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Carla Petrus, the tour guide at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Bottles of wine on display at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Bottles of wine on display at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Passing along the edge of a dusty neighborhood, I then found myself out in the middle of some barren flatlands. After a while, I saw bus 812 go by, but trundled onward. Over 30 minutes later, still walking through Nowheresville, I began to wonder how much further it could be. Finally, off in the distance, I saw the roundabout where I was supposed to turn left to go to Maipu Bikes. “If I would have known it was this far, I would have taken the bus,” I thought, just to save time and energy, both of which I needed for my excursion to the wineries.

    Bottles of wine on display at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Bottles of wine on display at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A piece of machinery at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A piece of machinery at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A piece of machinery at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A piece of machinery at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    At Maipu Bikes, there was a big crowd of young tourists sitting and drinking wine while loud music blasted in the background. I asked the boss there if I could rent a bike and he said they were all taken by the group. Argh! So, he sent me packing down the road a little ways to Mr. Hugo, where I spent a little while picking out a semi-decent bike with actual working brakes and gears, and adequately inflated tires. Finally, I set out on the road, pedaling four kilometers south and two kilometers east, where I pulled into Bodega Viña el Cerno, a family run artisanal winery.

    A piece of machinery at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A piece of machinery at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Part of a storage tank at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Part of a storage tank at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Barrels of wine at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Barrels of wine at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A display at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A display at Bodega Viña el Cerno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    For just 100 pesos (roughly two dollars), I was given a personal tour by Carla Petrus, the daughter of the owner. First, she explained via a long, interesting story the significance of the six different kinds of wine they sell, which were on display in a glass case. Basically, the overarching concept is all about living a life full of love for people and wine. Next, Carla took me on a tour, explaining the function of the machinery out front, the huge holding tanks inside, and the big barrels down in the basement. All told, the tour lasted maybe 20 minutes and was very informative and interesting.

    Looking east down Carril Perito Moreno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Looking east down Carril Perito Moreno in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Bottles of wine at Mevi in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Bottles of wine at Mevi in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A vineyard at Mevi in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A vineyard at Mevi in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Next, I pedaled down the narrow concrete road a little ways to another winery called Mevi. Seeing as how the place looked much more corporate and sterile compared to the homey feel of Bodega Viña el Cerno, I just had a quick look-see, snapped a couple of photos and headed back down the road west again to Bodega Tempus Alba, who offer a free self-guided tour, and, as you know, free is always for me. Consisting of five stops situated in a building that could pass for a modern art museum, the tour featured a view of the vineyard, the fermentation wing, the cellar and the tasting room. A half hour later, I was back on the road, dodging vehicular traffic all the way back to Mr. Hugo’s, where I dropped off the bike. I also helped some ladies push their stalled car toward a service station.

    The front of Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    The front of Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A vineyard at Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    A vineyard at Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Bottles of wine on display at Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Bottles of wine on display at Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    A lady who worked at Mr. Hugo’s told me there was a bus stop just up the street, but I hoofed it down the road instead, as the sun was getting pretty low in the sky and I wanted to head back toward downtown Maipu before dark. Finally, about 20 or 30 minutes later, after I passed two bus stops, I saw one approaching from the distance, and jumped on it for a ride back to the trolley station. The trolley back into Mendoza got packed to standing room only. It’s kind of weird that they made the seats face each other, which is always pretty awkward for all involved.

    Wine storage tanks at Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    Wine storage tanks at Bodega Tempus Alba in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    The Metro Tren trolley in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.
    The Metro Tren trolley in Maipu, near Mendoza Argentina.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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