What intrigued me about Bodega Norton was its famous owner, founder of Swarovski crystal, Austrian businessman Gernot Langes-Swarovski. What was a crystal producer doing in Argentina’s wine industry? Being a big Swarovski fan I wanted to take a look.
Swarovski purchased Norton in 1989. At the time it was the only traditional winery surrounded by its own vineyard. Currently they have 1,300 hectares, of which 680 are planted.
Pulling up to the gates, we knew we wouldn’t be let down with our visit. This is a large winery that is geared to visitors. It is easy to find (a big plus, as not that many wineries in Mendoza are), security was well organized, it has a great restaurant, extensive gift shop and the tasting room is geared to show off its best asset; the Andes and vineyards in the foothills. Perfect for photo ops!
Our guide Andreas really made our trip. Visiting for a short time from Austria, Andreas grew up in a winery and knew everything about the winemaking process. He started us off in the vineyard to talk about the grapes. After a quick sip of their sparkling Rosé (excellent!) we went on to sample the latest vintage of Malbec during its first phase of production. The production facilities here are modern, vast, and the scale of it all is impressive.
After our vat and barrel tasting we ventured down into the cellars under the winery. The endless old-style wine caves reminded me of the deep underground caves I’ve seen in parts of Europe. The contrast between the modern high tech facilities and old-style cellar was remarkable. The visit gave us a good sense of the history of the winery, as well as a sense of the impressive scale of one of Argentina’s leading producers.
La Vid Restaurant is excellent and it is worth planning your day to have lunch here.
Norton has several winery experiences available. If you have more time consider doing a cooking class or winemaker for a day experience. To see their full list of experiences click here.
You won’t find Swarovski crystal available for purchase here, unfortunately for me, but probably just as well.
Reservations required: Yes
Tasting room hours: Check the website for tour times and to make a reservation.
8/10 Overall visitor experience
9/10 Knowledge of guide
8/10 Architecture and design, landscaping
8/10 Other experiences: restaurant
9/10 Knowledge of tasting room staff
9/10 Friendliness of staff
8/10 Signage & ease of access
8/10 Quality of the wines poured
Appointment required: Yes
Grapes grown: Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Torrontes, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chenin Blanc and Riesling.
Address: R.P. 15, Perdriel, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza
Date of visit: May 6, 2013