Our Mendoza Story
Written by Jon Malinski
MENDOZA our second journey to Argentina in less than three years, was just as exciting as our first visit. This region lies at the foothills of the beautiful snow-capped Andes mountains with miles of manicured vineyards. The people, descendants of Europeans, are hard working and educated with a strong religious faith and family values. The beloved Asado shared with family and friends, the seductive tango, the contagious laughter, and of course the fantastic Malbec make up the culture of this amazing region.
The year 2000 was the beginning of a financial crisis of epic proportion for the country and the Argentines. Even today, over sixteen years later, they are still feeling its effects. During this crisis, an investment opportunity presented itself in the Viticulture business. Piattelli a modest winery with vineyards in Mendoza and the Valley de Uco. Because we had zero knowledge of the wine industry, this then was deemed by our children as our midlife adventure, 6,500 miles from our Minnesota roots.
My wife felt it necessary to address the obvious, beginning with our age, a language issue—Spanish being a language neither of us spoke—the lack of wine experience other than just being a consumer, land ownership issues, tax laws, thirty percent inflation, and one I was not expecting: a quote from Philippine de Rothschild that the "first 200 years in the winemaking business are the most difficult."
Next Stop - Salta
Written by Jon Malinski
Five hundred miles north of Mendoza in the Calchaqui Valley lies the small remote town of Cafayate. The Argentinians refer to this valley as "Cafayate the beautiful" it's fitting because of its mountains, canyons and natural painted landscape.
In 2004, I began to research this area because of articles regarding the success in growing grapes at high altitudes. The reports spoke of a valley in the northwest region of Argentina. With its perfect soil, temperatures fluctuation between days and nights of 20 degrees, Sloping hillside with abundant sunshine, plentiful and pure water. Some have referred to this valley as possibly the perfect conditions in the world for growing grapes and making world class wine.
On our first visit in 2006 to Cafayate, my wife and I, both agreed we would move forward, purchase the land and build a world-class winery. To date, we have bought a total of five hundred and seventy-five acres. Clearing the land was not a simple mission. With boulders the size of a car, it required an enormous investment in the purchase of heavy equipment just to prepare the ground for planting.
As my wife Arlene and I reflect back on the past 16 years, the achievements humble us. We have planted over seven hundred acres of vineyards. Constructed two beautiful wineries, in the best growing regions of Argentina. We feel truly blessed to be part of this amazing story. Wine Spectator recognizes our brand Piattelli in 2015 as number 44 out of 100 wines in the world These achievements would not have been remotely possible without the knowledge, hard work and commitment of so many beautiful people. Which we will forever be grateful. Gracias por su amistad, compromiso y porcompartir su experiencia. Juntos podemos lo imposible.