Mendoza is located two hours by plane from Buenos Aires. Although the city was founded in 1561, it shows very few relics of its original buildings since three centuries later the city was swept away by a fierce earthquake. Fortunately the city was promptly rebuilt to its present modern outlook. Today, Mendoza owes much of its fame as the most beautiful city in the country to its charming outskirts characterized by narrow tree-lined streets, vineyards, splendorous villas, small adobe houses and, of course, wineries. Wine in Mendoza is more than just an economic activity; it is a way of life. Wine was introduced by Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century but it was not until the 19th century that production really took off with the arrival of Italian and French immigrants, who brought along their advanced technology. Several wineries can be visited during half or full day tours that include wine tasting and the chance to purchase wine directly from the producers. South of Mendoza you will find the enchanting Uco Valley, a pastoral land of orchards, fruit plantations, cattle breeding farms and excellent wines.