Ruta 40 – Part #2 – WINE

Every week or so we turn in a big bag of laundry to a little laundry tienda, and pick it up 24 hours later. What we get back NEVER equals what we turn in.

When we packed up to leave our last hostel I noticed that I was missing my favorite ExOfficio underpants. In their place, I found these “Victory” briefs.

It seems like a premature statement to me, but I suppose if you reach the point where someone else is reading this, you may as well make the early claim.

So far our experience on the Ruta 40 has been tops, (remember here). We knew the best sections were yet to come, and when we set off we were validated.

Then we hit this, a F’in road block. Are you serious? I thought we left all that behind in Bolivia, (remember here).

These guys decided to close the Ruta 40 because their little town was not recognized on the map and they wanted recognition. The town had a population of like 7 people.

Even citizen #4, the sheriff, was out. (Seen below talking to Stevie while enforcing the illegal closure).

This led to a huge debate between Stevie and I. While she got all chatty with them, and quite vocal about supporting their right to civil disobedience, I was like…


Look, I’m all for supporting a cause, but make it a real damn cause. And you have to weigh what you’re doing vs. what you’re asking people to sacrifice due to your civil disobedience.

You people stole countless collective hours from the lives of the people sitting at your stupid road block. Just so you could be recognized on a stupid map? Sorry, that’s not a fair trade.

If people are oppressed, or people are dying, or people are suffering, or a wrong has been done, I’ll be with you. I actually 100% agree with this post that Stevie wrote on Occupy Wallstreet (a great read, check it out here).

But if you’re jacking with my time while having a family f’in BBQ on the side of the road, just cause closing roads is in vogue and you want some attention…  F your cause. You’re lucky I’m a family man now.

Anyway, moving right along.

We made it to Cafayate, the zone widely considered to be the #2 best wine region in all of Argentina, behind Mendoza. It looked tops to me.

We got busy doing what we do. The South American wine tour has commenced!

I was excited for Soleil. This would be the beginning of her first real wine tour and I was excited to show her the ropes. Never too young to learn.

As a family, wine touring is something that we take very seriously. As a matter of fact, when Stevie and I first moved into the van together almost 4 years ago, the first thing we did was a wine tour from LA to Canada, visiting 152 wineries in every major growing region, (remember here)

As I’m learning here in South America, many things have changed since our last wine tour. One of the first things I’ve noticed about wine touring with Soleil is that it’s hard to get anyone to talk about WINE!

“Excuse me ,<tap the table>, can I get a pour over here… HELLO… I’m empty…”

This is no joke. These employees actually took our baby, and then told us to go sit down and that they’d be with us in 5 minutes, or so.

So far all these people have been way more interested in Sol than in my palette.

NOT COOL Soleil. I know I taught you to work the room, but you’re distracting from the family mission, VINO!

After a few times of this happening, we started figuring out how to leverage Sol’s popularity.

Stevie – “We’d really love to see your private reserve room”

Winery Employee – “I’m sorry, we don’t allow people in that part of the winery”

Stevie – “Yes, but Sol would REALLY like to see it. Would you like to show her?”

Winery Employee  – “Well, I guess we could take a quick look”

Pic from the private cellar. Dust on the bottles. A good sign.

Stevie – “We’d really like to buy a bottle of your 2006 Estate Reserve Malbec. We also love these glasses. Our wine glasses recently broke.?”

Winery Employee – “Oh I’m sorry, we don’t sell these bottles of wine. They are not for sale.”

Stevie – “Yes, but Sol would REALLY like one. And how about the glasses?”

Winery Employee  – “Well, maybe we can sell you just one bottle.”

Finally this kid is starting to earn her keep.

After so many countries with barely drinkable wine, it’s really good to be back in real wine country. I think we’re really going to like it here.

Below, a series of photos as we tasted our way down the Ruta 40…

We finally arrived in Mendoza, the Mecca for Argentine wine.

We only plan to spend a few days here, and then jet to Chile. We need to get Kiki’s paper work so she can cross the border, and then we’re out.

When we get back from the USA visit at the end of August we plan to return to Mendoza for a few months to really do it proper.

Next stop, Chile!




  1. Nonituyas says:

    Ding, Ding!
    Beautiful . . .So which looks like the best hang – Mendoza or Cayafate? Thinking about my plans here. . .

  2. Sedgesprite says:

    Any recommendations for wines? Or do the pictures tell the story?

  3. I had my first sip, of sherry, at six months, on a ship from America to England. We were at the Captain’s table! Sol is getting a splendid start!

  4. Auntie Alex says:

    Hmmmm. Using your kid’s cuteness to get good wine…… Lets see if it works… Cousin Abby would reaaaaaally love for her Auntie, Uncle & cousin Sol to bring her a bottle of wine from South America. She feels it will solidify family bonds… Or something like that. 🙂

  5. Heather Dougherty-Acevedo says:

    Happy belated Father’s Day, Tree. Sent you an email, I may have attached too big of pics and it went to your junk? Or maybe you are too drunk to write back, both very possible. Ha!

  6. cheryll says:

    I think Sol would REALLY like to visit Jacob Williams’ new tasting room at Avery….and The Pines, and Quenett, and………

  7. I’m with Sedgesprite. Recommendations please!

  8. How is the steak? Isn’t the beef supposed to be as good as the wine in Argentina? Steak tour? C’mon.

    Thanks for the book Tree, I needed a good read.

    Stevie, I love how you are giving Sol a taste and the bar no less. Cheers!

  9. LOVE the Victory underwear…that is ambitious… Ruta 40 looks fantastic…what gorgeous scenery(and some great looking wine)

  10. We toured 6 wineries in Cafayate and really liked the town. Did you notice the flocks of parrots flying around everywhere? Crazy. Glad you’re liking ARG, and remember not to try and hide food when you cross into Chile…the bastards…

  11. Well, you put up with a Kindergarten road block. The pay off was, you parlayed it into a bomb wine score (glasses and all.) . Be Safe and careful with you precious cargo.
    Cant wait to meet her.

    Much Love, Willy

  12. I’m on the bandwagon with Indra and Sedgesprite… in fact, I really think your little site could do with a page dedicated to wine – “The Sprinterlife Wine List” of all your favorites. I have a hunch that it’s not a short list. Sure would make shopping a lot easier for me 🙂

  13. mamatuyas says:

    Tree, I remember being 6 months pregnant with you and sitting on some church steps with a whole bottle of wine, shouting at “god” about the challenges of existence. So, maybe that’s where your wine appreciation (and your determination to test the universe) got it’s toehold, hmmm?

  14. After several months away from sprinter life, I’m back reading at the right time! Glad to see you guys made it to Argentina and Soleil looking so cute!! I really look forward to your adventures here as we’re thinking our next big trip will be argentina.

    As stevie knew, I was expecting twins and well, they arrived early which is why I’ve been MIA from blogging and from commenting here. Life of being a new parent is crazy! Don’t know how you guys do it on the go too. We are only taking our first roadtrip next month with the boys and dog.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We spent some time in Lujan de cuyo about 2 years ago. It’s a beautiful town and all the streets are lined with thick, beautiful trees. Ask about the water park near there. It’s a trip and Sol would love it.
    You must do a wine tour by bicycle around the Maipo region. I’m sure they have kiddie bike carriers. Many wineries are spread out but there are a bunch concentrated in this area.
    On another note….we just lived through the worst flooding in Alberta’s history. Our house is tight on the river. We lost about 75 feet of green space due to erosion and were terrified we would lose our house and the land beneath it. That would have put a real damper on our plans to travel in South East Asia for a year in 2014.

  16. Ha.. just imprint your biz logo in there. Then when you find it gone, you can just write it off as advertising. lol

  17. Can’t wait to see more pictures of Mendoza , had no clue it was famous for its wine . Was supposed to visit some cousins there in the late 90s but a family emergency at home prevented it . Someday …

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