During our stop in Mendoza during our road trip we of course visited the vineyards and on the route we came across a wine museum! We were quite surprised because we had read quite a lot about Mendoza and the “things to do/see” but nowhere had we seen a mention of a wine museum.
We parked the car and proceeded to enter. From outside it was a gorgeous grand house, but unfortunately I couldn’t get far enough with my camera for it to fit into the frame.
Once inside we were greeted by no one, yeah, no one… and there was no obvious reception or anything. So we just started strolling through the house, admiring the architecture when five minutes later a woman appeared asking if we wanted to visit the museum (no lady we are just hiding from the polar bear outside) and once we said yes she asked us to follow her. She took us to a little office on the other side of were we had been walking, were we paid a nominal fee ( I don’t remember exactly but around 1 usd) and then she gave us a pamphlet and proceeded to give us a guided tour.
Turns out it wasn’t really a museum about wine but yes a tour of the houses built by two friends (a Swiss named Gargantini and an Italian named Giol) that made their fortunes producing and trading wine in Argentina in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s only to lose it all by returning to Europe just in time for the first world war.
Unfortunately only one of the houses has been restored (and partially at that) and is open to the public but it was enough to envision the complete opulence in which they lived.
The whole tour took perhaps 20 minutes and is only done in Spanish. All in all, it was an entertaining visit. Not a must-see but def worth a visit if you have the time.
Oh, a funny thing about the “museum” is that because the houses are owned by the municipality they use the upstairs bedrooms to exhibit some local artists, thus hopefully raising funds to continue with the restoration. I think its a great fundraising idea but it can be quite odd to be walking through 1800’s furniture to suddenly encounter yourself surrounded by rainbow coloured piece of modern art.
Oh, and when we left I took a further look at the board outside and besides saying ” national museum of wine” it also says “Giol and Gargantini houses” so really we were the ones that misread the sign and thought the museum was about wine!