Garzón, Uruguay

Photo: Bodega Garzón
Photo: Bodega Garzón

The coast of Uruguay is home to historic cities, untamed beaches, bohemian hotels, and seafood restaurants that sit right on the sand. These aren’t enough reasons to plan a trip to South America? Maybe a new winery will tip the scales.

From Punta del Este, the popular beach town, follow the Arroyo Garzón upstream. You find the picturesque village of Garzón just 14 miles inland. The former mill town has long been home to an old railway station and Our Lady of Mercy, a historic chapel. New restaurants and wineries are now turning it into a foodie destination.

One of these wineries, Bodega Garzón, sits on a rocky outcrop. When the winery’s owners arrived in the late 1990s, they quickly fell in love with an area that reminded them of Tuscany. They built a modern winery, whose striking building is made of stone, concrete, and wood on natural terraces. While the stunning views include brooks, olive groves, and row after row of grape vines. Their first grapes were harvested in 2014. The wine is finally ready to drink.

Your tour of Bodega Garzón starts on one of the terraces. From here, you can feel a cool sea breeze and see a group of capybaras—the largest rodents in the world—napping under a shady tree. The guide explains the vineyard’s eco-friendly features—including its low-emission equipment, rainwater collection, and gravity fed processes—as you move through the building. A fruity Viognier, a mineral-rich Albariño, and a smooth Tannat—Uruguay’s national wine—await you in the tasting room.

After tasting the wines, move to a second tasting room that features olive oil. Learn about its own history and process before trying three extra virgin olive oils with country bread, unpressed olives, and a glass wine. Then move to the winery’s elegant restaurant for lunch. You order a Garzón cheese salad with fresh tomatoes and dandelions, grilled sea bass with burnt cabbage, and a bottle of the 2012 Tannat Reserva to share. Long, lazy lunches extend well beyond the beaches around here. Do you have enough reasons now?

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