The Bodega Bouza Winery was established by the Bouza family in 2000. The family restored a historic winery first built in 1942. The winery is located in the rural area of Montevideo, about 20 minutes from the city center. Although there are other wineries in the region, this one has the best infrastructure to receive tourists.
The winery focuses on producing fine wines in small quantities rather than producing in large scale. Their wine has received many international awards, especially their Tannat wines. Besides Tannat, they produce other red varieties like Merlot and Tempranillo, and white varieties like Albariño and Chardonnay.
The winery offers tours that include a visit to the vineyards, the winery, the wine cellars, and the vintage car collection. For an extra price, you can try the wine tasting or have lunch at the gourmet restaurant. There’s also a boutique where you can buy limited-edition wines and Uruguayan souvenirs.
Reservation: To take the tour it’s necessary to make a reservation on their website.
When to go: Go in the beginning of the summer, in December or January. The harvest starts in February and ends in March. Make sure to go before that to see the full-grown vines.
How to get there: The best way to get there is by taxi. It’s cheap, comfortable and fast. It’s possible to get there by bus, but the buses are not very frequent. There’s no direct bus from the city center. You must change buses at the Plaza Colón. Another option is to take the bus to the Plaza Colón from the city center and then take a taxi. Click here to find out which buses can take you there.
The tour starts at the Melilla vineyard located beside the winery. The guide explains about the varieties of vines planted here. There are 5 hectares of Albariño, Chardonnay, Merlot and Tannat vines. She seems very proud of the quality of their wine. She points out that they do manual harvest and select each grape to make the wine. The rejected grapes are used to fertilize the soil. When I visited in September, the vines were still growing after the last harvest.
The winery and the wine cellar
The next stop is the winery and the wine cellar. Here the guide explains the process of wine making. There are different types of containers where the vinification happens. Their materials affect the taste of the wine. After the vinification, the wine is transferred to oak barrels for aging in the wine cellar. The wine aging improves the taste and flavor of the wine.
The vintage car collection
The last stop of the tour is the Bouza family vintage car collection. The collection is impressive. It has more than 30 classic cars and motorcycles, all in driving condition. At the front of the garage, there’s an old train wagon from 1929. The wagon was still being restored by the time I visited.
The wine tasting
After the tour, it was time for the wine tasting. The restaurant is pretty nice and cozy. But the experience was not as pleasant as I anticipated.
I had a much more friendly and relaxed experience in other wineries I visited in Bordeaux. There, everyone from the tour sat on the same table, including the sommelier. There was no shortage of wine. In fact, you are encouraged to serve yourself with another glass of the wine of the wines you liked most. Everyone had fun.
In Bodega Bouza, although it is a family business, the experience was much more formal. Each couple or family sat on a separate table. The sommelier has to stop at each table giving the same explanation about the wine. The service was slow, and my husband and I felt abandoned in a table on the corner. The wine and the food was good though. He served us four types of wine and suggested the best cheese to pair with each wine served. But he didn’t ask our option about the wines and didn’t offer us more.
Also published on Medium.