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The Napa of the South: Mendoza, Argentina Real Estate

Malbec grape vines were first brought to Argentina from France in the mid-19th century, at the request of one of the nation's provincial governors. The grapes thrived in Argentina's climate, and it's possible that the variety of malbec grapes originally brought to Argentina has since gone extinct in its native France, and is preserved only in South America. In recent decades, the malbec grape has resurged in popularity, driven largely by the work of Argentine winemaker Nicolas Catena Zapata. Zapata experimented with growing malbec grapes at high altitude in the region of Argentina around Mendoza. The results were remarkable, and since the first high-altitude vineyard was planted in 1994, the malbec wine industry near Mendoza has grown in leaps and bounds. Mendoza, according to some, is "the new Napa."

Due to high real estate prices both in Europe and in California, people who dream of moving to those storied wine producing regions usually find that dream beyond their reach. Not so in Argentina. An economic crisis a decade ago drove real estate prices down, and they have not recovered quickly. It's possible to find Argentina land for sale or homes for sale at prices that are a fraction of those in North America or Europe. Other costs of living are also low, with culture, nightlife, and fine dining all being impressively affordable. Most expatriate couples find that they can afford to live very well indeed on around $2,000 per month.

The area's natural beauty and affordability draw many prospective expats to investigate Mendoza Argentina real estate. A city of about 115,000, Mendoza lies within sight of the snow-capped Andes range. The climate is dry, with warm summers. In the city itself, fountains bubble and trees shade its broad boulevards and plazas. Like Buenos Aires, Mendoza is an inviting older city with abundant cafes, good food, and a lively nightlife scene. Since Argentina has one of the highest levels of economic development in South America, infrastructure and health care are good.

Buenos Aires draws many expatriates, but those who come to Mendoza are typically looking for a little more peace and quiet and a slower pace of life. A big part of that equation, of course, is country homes and real estate. Fincas, or country estates, are available all over the nation in sizes from small to huge, and Argentina land for sale goes for very affordable prices: it's possible to get 30 acres of undeveloped property near Mendoza for only $75,000. Those looking for Argentina land for sale and planning to construct their own home can find a parcel with a designated building site and planted acres of malbec grapes for under $200,000. Add an extra $100,000 and you can easily find a small vineyard with a modest house.

Perhaps the one downside to life in Mendoza, for expatriates, is the lengthy travel time to the U.S. While Mendoza has a small airport with connections to Buenos Aires and Lima, tickets can be pricey. Many residents find it more affordable to fly to Buenos Aires and take the bus, which is a 13-hour ride. Airfares from the U.S. to Buenos Aires, while not exorbitant compared to some far-flung destinations, aren't cheap, either. However, many expatriates find that once they are in Mendoza, the extremely high quality, low-cost lifestyle they have there more than makes up for it.