Salentein grows grapes, cherries
The elevation of Salentein’s ranches range from 3,200 to 5,000 feet.
The tiuque bird (also known as chimango caracara) preys on caterpillars in Bodegas Salentein’s vineyards in the foothills of the Andes.
Bodegas Salentein, a winery located on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, takes advantage of a range of elevations to produce a full range of wines.
The winery, located in the Valle de Uco in the state of Mendoza, has three ranches with a total of 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of grapes at elevations ranging from 970 to 1,500 meters (3,200 to 5,000 feet) above sea level. Malbec, Argentina's signature full-bodied red wine, is produced from grapes grown at the lower elevations, along with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Shorter-season varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, are planted in the higher vineyards.
Bodegas Salentein was established in the late 1990s in an area first settled in the sixteenth century by Jesuit missionaries who planted the first vineyard in the area. Annual precipitation is 420 mm (17 inches), and vineyards are irrigated with a drip system, using water from mountain runoff.
The winery was built by a Dutch investor and designed to honor its religious roots. It takes the form of a cross, with each of the four wings being used for fermentation and storage of wine. A gravity transfer system carries wine to an underground circular central chamber to be aged in oak. Bodegas Salentein produces three labels: Salentein Reserve, Numina, and Primus (sold as Primum in the United States). Most of the production is sold in Europe.
Along with the grapes, Salentein has 20 hectares (49 acres) of cherries alongside its lower vineyards near Tupungato. The orchard was planted in 2002 with Bing being the major variety and Lapins, Georgia, Van, and New Star planted as pollenizers. The trees are planted 3 meters (10 feet) apart with 4.5 meters (15 feet) between rows.
In 2008, the orchard produced almost 7 tons per hectare (3 tons per acre), but this season's crop was 20 percent less because of adverse spring weather, according to Cezar Ferrer, technical manager.