In defiance of Colón’s subtropical climate, usually regarded as totally hostile to wine grapes, in 1857 a Swiss immigrant named Joseph Favre planted a few vines from his homeland just outside the city. Seventeen years later, with his vines not only succeeding, but thriving, he added a handsome bodega (winery) in the Piedmontese style – an Italianate villa with ochre walls that would not look out of place in the countryside around Turin. In 1936, the national government banned the commercial production of wine anywhere outside the Cuyo and the Andean Northwest, but Favre’s descendants continued making wine for their own consumption. When the law was finally repealed in 1998, Jesús Vulliez, a local descendant of other Swiss immigrants, bought the nineteenth-century bodega and began producing wine for commercial distribution under the label Vulliez Sermet, planting five hectares with chardonnay, malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, tannat, syrah and sangiovese vines. If you call ahead, you can visit the beautiful bodega, with its impeccably restored interior and cool cellars, taste the fine red and white wines, and eat at the bodega restaurant (closed Tues). The attractive grounds nearby house a large swimming pool and three luxurious cabañas sleeping up to six (wwww.vulliezsermet.com).

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