The Vines of Mendoza

Notes From The Field


By Jenn Kingen Kush & Mike Kush


During a time in our life when we were expected to settle down, my husband and I did the opposite and have never looked back. We left our established professional careers in Chicago 18 months ago to follow our hearts and life passions of wine and travel.

We decided to "chase harvest" in both the northern and southern hemispheres as a way to maximize our winemaking experience and exposure. It has been an amazing journey including sojourns to Alderbrook Winery in Sonoma, Kim Crawford in Marlborough, New Zealand and Niepoort Wines in Portugal's Douro Valley.

Our travels recently brought us to Mendoza, Argentina where, after visiting in 2002 and last June, we discovered The Vines of Mendoza. After visiting so many wine regions in the world, we were amazed by the experience and professionalism of this unique, world-class organization and were eager to make Mendoza an official part of our globe-trotting apprenticeship.

We were thrilled earlier this year to learn that my husband had secured a cosecha (harvest) position at Vina Cobos with renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs, and that I would be doing an internship here at The Vines.

Recently, I visited the Private Vineyard Estates in the Uco Valley with several owners and prospective owners and, I was completely awestruck at the majestic splendor and the snow-capped Andes towering over these amazing new vineyards.

The vast and rugged panorama has an instantly recognizable sense of tranquility that differentiates it from other wine growing regions. Maybe it is the dramatic mountains, the high altitude or the feeling that you have stepped directly into a gaucho culture, but there is something indefinable that makes the Uco Valley full of discovery and potential. It was inspirational for me to hear the personal stories of the private owners who are impassioned to make their dreams come true here.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the distinguished Santiago Achával, consulting winemaker to the Private Vineyard Estates, and hearing his personal story that started here in Mendoza years ago. This encounter made me appreciate even more the power that wine has to unite people.

As the vines here begin to turn red and gold, our time to leave is unfortunately near. Where our wine-related pursuits will take us next is still to be discovered, but we certainly know Mendoza will be a part of our future, just as it will be for those planting their Private Vineyards in the Uco Valley.

Jenn Kingen Kush & Mike Kush

Harvest Chasers


Jenn & Mike at Uco Valley, Mendoza

If you would like more information about a Private Vineyard Estates, please visit our website: or email us at


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