Wine tasting without Mr. Hugo

Everyone in Mendoza loves Mr. Hugo.    I’m sure Mr. Hugo is fabulous. But, we decided to wine taste without him.   It was a hard decision, one with many concerns.  Could it really be done?

Mr. Hugo rents bicycles in the town of Maipu, which is near the city of Mendoza.  He rents bikes, gives out a wine map, bottle of water, and drink at the end of the day.   So many people rave about him, I assumed it must be all hype, until several different friends that live here year round also recommended him.

Who wouldn't want to rent from Mr Hugo? (photo from Mr. Hugo website)

We would have rented from Mr Hugo except for two things.  I am terrible on a regular bike and Jeff is too smart to go wine tasting with me on a tandem.   He knew that after my first sip of wine I would have refused to pedal and he would have had to drag me all around town.    But, could we do it without Mr. Hugo?  We didn’t know.

In Mendoza we called a taxi to take us to the first winery.  Even he was dubious of doing this without Mr. Hugo.  He pointed out Mr. Hugo’s storefront as we drove by just in case we changed our mind.   For the equivalent of $15US  we arrived at the first winery.

This is easy.


Our first stop was the winery Trapiche.  We’ve seen this label in the US, so we were excited to try their wine.

Two of Mr. Hugo’s rental bikes were parked in front, taunting us.

You should have rented us.

There were four Mr. Hugo riders on our tour.   They ignored us older taxi-riding wine tasters.

Hey cool kids...wait for us.

In the tasting room, Jeff was able to engage the youngsters in conversation while I became fixated with the world’s fanciest tasting room bathroom sink.


After the quick tour and tastings the Mr. Hugo riders rode away while we waited for a taxi.  The winery called us the cab, but we had to amuse ourselves while we waited for it to arrive 30 minutes later.

practicing my fancy arm movements
practicing fancy dance moves
harvesting some snacks

When the taxi showed up I was dubious since it didn’t look like a taxi. But, for the equivalent of $6 US he took us to the next winery.

Tempus Alba had even more Mr. Hugo bike renters.

The winery was beautiful with a self guided tour, vineyards overlooking the Andes and a fabulous patio with a wine bar and restaurant.

If you really look hard you can see the Andes behind me.

We were the only non Mr. Hugo renters and also the only people over the age of 22.    I haven’t seen this many college kids trading travel stories since 1989 when I was one of them.  Although lacking the youthful exuberance and travel bravado of the youngsters, we did have something they may not have, money to spend on wine and good food.   We went wine tasting crazy.

7 glasses between the 2 of us? No prob we don't have to ride a bike back.
this baked brie went really well with wine.
this carmelized onion quiche also went will with wine.
pork, sweet potatoes and onions in malbac sauce doesn't look like much, but was one of our best meals of the entire trip.

After a very long and lavish lunch, we decided to walk to the next winery.    The walk itself was really nice along a shaded street with views of the vineyards and mountains.

Unfortunately, a city information guide had told us earlier we might get mugged in this town. So, although there were bikes, police cars, trucks and cars whizzing by, I was sure we were lost and about to be attacked.  We weren’t.

This third winery was just OK. The wine was good, but there was a strange vibe inside (not to mention about 30 Mr. Hugo bike renters).  Unfortunately, instead of doing the tasting outside it was in a weird smelling basement like room.



We skipped the tour and went back outside and waited for a bus home.  The bus cost the equivalent of 30 US cents.  And, best of all it dropped us off  at a bakery.

Would I recommend Mr. Hugo? Sure, everyone looked like they were having fun, the bikes looked good and I’ve heard nothing but good things.  Would I suggest still going by taxi, walking and bus if you don’t want to bike? Absolutely!

10 thoughts on “Wine tasting without Mr. Hugo”

  1. I love your day of decadence!! Fantastic! That was hilarious – bike vs. taxi. I’m going to work later today so I’m especially envious – more than the usual amount.

    The organic farming that incorporates the lunar calendar is actually biodynamic farming. It was developed by Rodolf Steiner. It was gaining a lot of ground in AU when I lived there. I felt I really could taste a difference between regular organic and biodynamic. The biodynamic food tasted even better than regular organic. It’s more of a holistic approach to organic that looks at the farm in relationship to the earth and all the living beings on it.

    1. I had no idea there really is farming by lunar calendar. I thought it was a language misunderstanding. Their wine is quite good, maybe that’s why.

  2. Hi Sheryl, I was perusing through Digg & I came upon your blog. My boyfriend and I just moved to Mendoza and are living here until November. So first of all, I love your writing style and couldn’t be in more agreement with all of the things you’ve mentioned: Red Bus & the bus system, safety issues, etc. But second of all, we were at the wineries in Maipu the same day as you–perhaps at the same winery at the same time! I recognize some of the faces from your photos…I must say that although I loved Mr. Hugo and the bikes, there’s another reason you should be glad you didn’t bike–there’s some extreme construction going on and the ride was pretty rough at some parts…anyhow, I’ll be following your adventures. Here’s my blog if you’re interested on reading ab Mr. Hugo more (ha!)…

    1. Hi Carolyn, thanks so much for reading the blog. I just read your blog and I do remember seeing you and your boyfriend there. How funny. We saw that construction. There is no way I would have made it through that on a bike, or back of a tandem.

  3. Hi Sheryl and Jeff

    We’ve really been enjoying all your posts. Your wine commentary and photos always drive us to the wine cellar where Michelle and I enjoy wine along with you. (We can’t match the food however, but your descriptions let us imagine). Our favorite Mendoza is named Capataz. See you guys soon for my mom’s 95th B-day party. Stop in Dallas on your way home and we can tour the world via wine (ie in the wine cellar), and you can tell us stories of when you visited there!!


    1. Thanks for the wine tip. We haven’t been to Capataz yet. We’ll have to check it out. I hope they are open for tastings. Wine tasting while traveling is our new favorite past-time. It really is a fun way to see the world. We’d love to visit Dallas and taste some wines with you. Looking forward to seeing you in June.

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