Argentina has been making wine since the 1500s, tracing its wine heritage back to Spain, France and Italy, so it is no surprise that Salentein Estate in the Uco Valley has roots that extend back to the 17th century and The Society of Jesus.
Not only did the Jesuits build an estate and farm at an altitude of 1700 metres above sea level, they also planted the first vines on the estate so that they could make communion wine.
The goal of this multi-award winning estate, says Winemaker José Galante, ‘is to make exceptional wines while supporting the local people and community and encouraging local biodiversity.’
José Galante led the Catena Zapata Group for more than 30 years and worked alongside numerous international wine consultants. In the 1990s, he travelled to the United States to work alongside Paul Hobbs, now a consultant for Salentein. Whilst there, José started on a new path to create superior quality Argentine wines; to achieve this goal, he has studied winemaking techniques in Spain and France.
Salentein gained ISO 14001 status in 2010 and vineyard management is focused on sustainable viticulture practices. Native flora is employed as cover crops and all organic matter resulting from vineyard and winemaking activities is returned to the land as natural fertilisers. The wineries recycle 100% of the water they use and continue to make year-on-year energy savings. Salentein operates a reserve to protect about 50 hectares of native desert habitat in pristine condition.