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An authentic mix of traditional rural life and upscale modern infrastructure characterizes the heart of Chacras, founded in 1600. Plaza General Espejo, the delightful town square, hosts an antiques fair on Sunday afternoons. The whitewashed neocolonial parish church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, faces the plaza. Very good restaurants are within a few blocks from the center.

The most interesting winery in Chacras is Bodega y Cavas de Weinert, San Martín 5923 (tel. 261/496-4676; www.bodegaweinert.com), a large operation that exports high-quality wines around the world and continues using large oak barrels. It's in a quintessential old Spanish-style villa, and the downstairs tasting room is musky and dark, just as a cellar should be. Just steps from the main drag, Bodega Clos de Chacras, Monte Libano s/n (tel. 261/496-1285; www.closdechacras.com.ar), is a boutique winery inside a historic building. Their wines have been receiving many international awards, and their bilingual guides are excellent.

To the south of Chacras is the Museo de Bellas Artes de Mendoza, San Martín 3651 (tel. 261/496-0224; admission $1/70p), also known as the Museo Fader, after its chief painter, Fernando Fader. Housed in a brick mansion surrounded by a lovely garden, rooms are dedicated to national and international artists.

Farther down the same road is Bodega Lagarde, San Martín 1745 (tel. 261/498-0011; www.lagarde.com.ar), one of the oldest and most traditional wineries in Mendoza, with the credo that wines should reflect the vineyards. It is a relaxed, friendly winery that hasn't been slicked up for tourists, so it's a bit untidy. The tour includes a fun lesson in champagne bottling, and they now offer an extensive five-course country-style lunch for $45 (£30).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.