Uruguay has just achieved an amazing two places—including the number two spot—amongst the world’s best wineries for 2019. A prestigious academy of almost 500 leading wine and travel experts ranked Garzón on the east coast of Uruguay second and Bodega Bouza, just ten minutes drive from Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, number 44.
That’s a great achievement for a country of just three million people where wine has been an essential part of daily life for centuries but the industry has only professionalised in the last thirty or so years.
We applaud Bodega Garzón for putting Uruguay on the wine map internationally. It’s a winery owned by an Argentine oil and gas magnate with the potential to export all over the world, FINALLY allowing all of you who are hungry to get your hands on a bottle of Uruguayan wine to do just that.
We admire the professionalism of Bodega Bouza, its great restaurant and excellent wines, an outstanding classic car collection and together its proximity to Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, it’s a polished international wine experience that rightly has few rivals.
However here at Guru’Guay we believe that the most unforgettable travel memories are made when you are up close the real people living and working where you’re visiting, and we want to get you access to them.
We love Uruguay’s smaller wineries, lesser-known and generally off the beaten path
These are wineries where you’ll be taken around by the owners or the winemakers themselves. Visits generally include plenty of time to sit together and get to know each other—and Uruguayan wine—over generous pours and locally-sourced appetisers.
We recommend wineries like Alto de la Ballena (above), the first winery to discover the terroir that is producing such amazing mineral wines for Garzón. At Alto de la Ballena, owner Paula Pivel personally takes you around their small winery overlooking the Sauce lake and the ocean in the distance.
Artesana is a small women-run winery, thirty minutes beyond Bodega Bouza. They are the first winery to introduce Zinfandel to Uruguay, their ruby red Tannat rosé is delightfully versatile and their exquisite four-course lunch is always limited to a handful of diners.
These are visits where you are the centre of attention and by appointment only. In Uruguay, these are winetastings that would be considered a VIP wine experience elsewhere.
So which Uruguay wineries should be on your radar?
Check out our ranking at Guru’Guay’s 20 best Uruguay wines. Hint, it includes all five wineries mentioned above.