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Source: PR Newswire
By: Moira Pino

On the horizon, the Andes mountains. A shorter distance away, an arid valley seared with furrows where grapevines grow. On a roadside, the minimalist building of an ultra-modern winery or the colonial mansion of a traditional winemaker. This is a postcard of Argentina. And if one looks closely at the balcony of that modern winery or at the patio of that mansion, a group of visitors can be seen wrapping up their day of sightseeing: the Wine Route attracts thousands of tourists every year.

And indeed the range of experiences and the quality of wines to be enjoyed on this route - which covers 2,000 kilometers and traverses 9 Argentine provinces - is unique in the world. Even as the visitor follows the process involved in producing some of the greatest wines of our time, he or she can also enjoy the beauty of the land where the grapes are grown.

Tourists on the Wine Route travel to the Calchaquies Valleys, an area of reddish landscapes where the pre-Columbian influence still is stamped on the faces of the inhabitants; it is there that the world's highest vineyards can be found. The route will also take them to Salta, where the exceptional Torrontes wine is produced, and to Neuquen, a new wine frontier driven by the Patagonian winds. And, of course, the route will make a stop in the classic winegrowing region of Mendoza, cradle of some of the famous Argentine Malbec.

"In 2007, we've seen an increase in the number of passengers who are going to Argentina not only from November to March, the biggest months, but throughout the entire year, attracted by the possibility of trying some of the world's best wines," Domenico Matinata, American Airlines' regional director for South America, said.

Among those exploring the Wine Route, the presence of U.S. tourists is particularly noteworthy, a phenomenon that goes hand in hand with the rise in wine consumption in that country. At present, the United States is the world's second-leading wine consumer.

"From north to south, the Argentine Wine Route offers a unique experience amid a backdrop of varied geography and spectacular scenery, further enhanced by the extraordinary warmth and efficiency of the people who attend to the travelers," said Carina Valicati, the Argentine Tourism Secretariat's wine tourism coordinator.

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