It’s no secret that Argentina is one of the wine capitals of the world, home to 320 vineyards across 14 provinces. But not all bodegas are created equal, and a few stand several grape clusters above the rest.
One such example is the Bodega Familia Schroeder, located in the Neuquen Province of Patagonia.
Founded in 2001 by Herman Heinz Teodoro Schroeder, whose family first settled in Patagonia in 1932, the bodega contains upwards of 200 hectares of vines in San Patricio del Chañar, approximately 50 km from Neuquén City. Its first harvest took place in 2003, and the winery was completed one year later. In 2005, the Schroeder family sold its first wine on the open market: Saurus Patagonia Select.
Part of what makes the Bodega Familia Schroeder so distinctive is that it’s built into the side of a valley slope, known in the south of Argentina as a barda. Not only does the winery blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings, but its building, which stands approximately 22 meters (approximately 72 feet), allows for a gravity-flow processing that minimizes the use of pumps and, in turn, the grapes’ contact with oxidized metals. The result is some of the purest wine in the country.
If its design weren’t intriguing enough, the Bodega Familia Schoeder has an actual dinosaur in its cellar. Really. In 2002, a group of researchers and paleontologists discovered the fossil remains of a 75 million-year-old herbivore on the premises, including one humerus and five vertebrae. The team named the new species Panamericansaurus Schroederi as a means of thanking the family for its support during the extraction, while the Schroeders dubbed their first wine “Saurus.”
Bodega Familia Schroeder produces a host of different wines, but it specializes in Pinot Noir — a delicate variety whose grapes can only thrive in cooler climates at higher altitudes. Approximately 20% of the vineyard’s hectares are used to grow and develop this temperamental fruit, which is not only used for reds but several roses and sparkling whites. These vines are grown with organic and natural fertilizers in a soil that is laced with rye.
With its system of interior pathways and catwalks, the Bodega Familia Schroeder allows visitors to see firsthand how its wines are manufactured, even at harvest time. You can also visit the Saurus restaurant, where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the vineyards and the culinary stylings of chef Ezequiel González.
Bodega Familia is located on Calle 7 Norte in San Patricio del Chañar and is open to the public year-round.