“Wine is light, held together by water.” – Galileo
Planting a new vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina can be a tricky and often daunting task. Mendoza is a desert, and like any desert, water can be scarce.
Altos Las Hormigas, through years of digging up and studying soils to best reflect the Terroir of Mendoza, and to best express the Malbec grape secured land in the Altamira district of the Uco Valley. The problem was, despite the beautiful soils and opportunity to grow a vineyard where Malbec will flourish with beautiful limestone tannins and fresh pure fruit, water rights in the region were not being granted. That is until recently, when Altos Las Hormigas was given the “golden ticket” to begin digging our well in order to plant our vineyard.
On June 23, 2015 a small team from Altos Las Hormigas braved the cold Winter weather and went to visit the site of the future vineyard in search of the prime location to dig our well – the giver of life to any vineyard. The land is rugged, untouched and the only inhabitants are horses and mules from nearby farms that visit.
Our team employed the help of a local man named Francisco, a farmer and hunter of water nicknamed, “El Gorrión” to assist in marking points on our virgin land where underground water may be flowing. Through a centuries-old process called Water Dowsing, Francisco used a live Y-shaped “vining rod” that feels pressure and energy from water found under the Earth.
Francisco explained that water from the Andes flows South to North; therefore, walking in both directions until tension in the rod caused it to rise at a 90 degree angle was a key element in finding possible locations for digging. Our team marked each location in the hunt, and these key points will be the primary digging zones.
Just as Altos Las Hormigas listens to the Terroir to create wine expressive of soils and Malbec, we look to others who listen to the land and water to help us on our journey to a beautiful new vineyard.