Estancia Uspallata, located 6,560 feet above sea level, is the highest vineyard in all of Mendoza. It is situated in the Quebrado del Minero (Miner’s Canyon), just outside of the town of Uspallata. The estate belongs to the Saud family of Buenos Aires and is part of a massive mountain ranch of almost 100,000 acres. However, as is often the case in these Andean properties, only a tiny fraction is actually usable. In 2008, the Saud family planted a small vineyard of about 10 acres (five acres each of Malbec and of Pinot Noir) on a pronounced north-facing slope.
In 2015, Ariel and Belen Saud approached Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach to partner in the development of the property, taking charge of viticulture, winemaking, and commercial activities. Under Alejandro’s care, the vineyard has thrived, and one-half acre of Cabernet Franc has been added. The plan is to continue to develop the estate, with small parcels of different grape varieties matched to the tapestry of soil profiles found on the property.