Argentina: An Awakening Giant Argentina is one of the world's most important wine producing countries. Presently, it ranks fifth in wine production, behind Italy, France, Spain and the United States. It boasts more than 500,000 acres of vines, most of which are planted in the valleys and tablelands of the Andes Mountains. The huge sprawling province of Mendoza, often referred to as the Mighty Mendoza, is responsible for the majority of Argentina's premium wines, but much of this vast province still remains unexploited. Not surprisingly, this sleeping giant rests a mere hundred miles or less from Chile's premier vineyards in the Colchagua, Curico and Maule valleys, which lie just to the west on the windward side of the Andean spine. In spite of the Mendoza's fabulous climate and terroir, and a number of world class wines, most Argentinean wineries have been content to slake the thirst of the local populace by producing quantity over quality ' until recently. Since 1995, wine producers in Argentina have begun modernizing their vineyards and utilizing new technology in order to produce world class wines that appeal to international palates. Consequently, exports have quadrupled in the last five years to more than 100 million dollars. This figure may be small in comparison to Australia, Chile, and other powerhouse wine exporters, but it underscores the potential of Argentina as a producer of world class wines and confirms the claim that the 'giant has awakened.' Although Argentina produces a formidable quantity of white wine, it is the nation's reds that have rightfully garnered the world's attention. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah lead the march, followed by a host of other French, Italian, and Spanish varietals.