Soon after gaining independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina began attracting successive waves of European immigrants, who brought winemaking traditions and vines with them. For a long time, Argentinian wine was defined by high yields and sun-ripened grapes, however, since the 1980s, the industry has benefitted from a process of modernisation. Combining tradition with extreme altitudes, modern Argentine winemakers have placed more focus on planting in cooler areas, with the aim of prolonging the ripening stage and therefore maximising the quality of fruit. No wine-producing country in the world has made more progress over the last few decades than Argentina, and it is now one of the top exporting countries across the globe. Much of this success can be credited to the hugely popular full-bodied reds made from Malbec, which for years was the most planted black grape in Argentina. Today, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are commonly found and produced in a full range of styles. Mendoza is the main wine region of Argentina. A vast and tremendously varied province nestled against the Andes, its exceptional fruit is the result of the region’s extreme altitudes. The higher the vineyard, the cooler the nights, allowing the wines to retain bright acidity and colour intensity, while the greater effect of radiation increases the concentration of flavour. Mendoza is now home to some of the finest wines of the world, with Catena Zapata leading the way in terms of reputation and quality.