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Source: Outside Magazine

PERHAPS THE MOST RENOWNED grape-growing region in South America, Argentina's Mendoza province is the clear choice for those who want the gastronomical and viticultural delights of Napa without having to pass some dot-com millionaire's wine castle every day. Tucked at the foot of the Andes, the area, with its cool, arid climate, is ideal for virtually all manner of grape, but malbec is the region's star attraction.

Though the Ruta del Vino is a well-established destination among oenophiles, the luxury housing market has yet to come into full bloom. Still, high-end homes are increasingly dotting the landscape, many with vineyards included (imagine Bordeaux set against the Alps), so investing soon is advisable.

For those who enjoy excitement of a more endorphin-like than epicurean nature, the province offers technical whitewater rafting on the Mendoza and Tunuyán rivers, hiking in the foothills of the Andes, and skiing a day's drive away at Las Leñas, one of Argentina's most challenging resorts. And since this is the Southern Hemisphere, the best skiing is in June and July; skipping a Shaker Heights winter for a South American sojourn has its allure as well.


Mendoza City is an hour-and-a-half flight from Buenos Aires International Airport.

Sip your way down the Ruta del Vino before rafting and skiing in the Andes.

Things are peaceful, and after a monetary collapse in the late nineties, the Argentinian peso is great for Americans.

Very Hot The thirst for South American wine, and its lifestyle, is as yet unslaked. Your best bet may be Engel & Völker's vined villas, Santa María de los Andes, currently under construction.

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