Pueblo Garzon: The Emerging Hub for Food, Wine, and Art Enthusiasts
Pueblo Garzon has now emerged as a distinctive wine and olive oil region in Uruguay. Featuring state-of-the-art technology, Bodega Garzon produces exceptional wines and olive oil. Notably, Agroland was recently honored with two Gold Prestige medals in the prestigious international olive oil competition held in Mendoza Olivinus.
With its whitewashed church, abandoned train station, vibrant main square, and freely wandering horses and stray dogs, Pueblo Garzon resembles a picturesque town straight out of a theatrical production. This burgeoning wine and culinary movement has elevated Pueblo Garzon into a sought-after tourist destination, situated not too far from the stylish Jose Ignacio, known for its exquisite seaside restaurants. With its Garzon winery, Atchugarry’s sculpture park, Mallmann’s gastronomic center, and Susana Gimenez’s mansion, Pueblo Garzon serves as a haven for those seeking refuge and indulgence.
Founded in 1892 by merchant Fermín de León, Pueblo Garzon once thrived as the royal road passed through, frequented by passengers heading to the governor’s property. The town experienced a period of significant growth between 1930 and 1950, with 2,000 residents thanks to the railroad and a bustling mill that fueled industrial activity from 1920. However, with the decline of these two pillars, Pueblo Garzon faced abandonment until the year 2000. A revitalization occurred when Agroland, an agro-industrial enterprise, reopened job opportunities in 2004. Additionally, the arrival of renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, who opened a restaurant and hotel in this charming town, attracted tourists from all corners of the globe.
These transformative shifts in Pueblo Garzon highlight the power of celebrities in promoting lesser-known destinations. Undoubtedly, the presence of figures like Francis Mallmann played a crucial role in putting Uruguay on the map as an enticing location. The recent endorsement of Garzon by The New York Times as one of the top 52 destinations to experience in a lifetime further solidifies its allure. Notably, the influx of visitors to Pueblo Garzon primarily comprises British and American tourists, followed by Brazilians and Uruguayans.
How to get to Pueblo Garzon
Photo credit: Infobae
To get to Pueblo Garzon from Punta del Este, follow Highway 9 until you reach kilometer 175.5. Take a left turn and continue for 1.5 miles. Then, at the junction, turn right and drive for another 5 miles until you see the entrance to Pueblo Garzon on your right side.
In 2004, renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, along with Argentine winemaker Manuel Mas, transformed an old property into the Hotel & Restaurant Garzon. The establishment features five rooms, a park, a pool, and a restaurant. This venture breathed new life into the small town of 200 people, infusing it with a bohemian atmosphere. Word spread among gourmets worldwide about the town’s nostalgic charm, attracting other chefs and restaurants to follow in Mallmann’s footsteps. As a result, Garzon has become a sought-after culinary destination in South America.
Mallmann’s establishment exudes rustic charm with a distinct and creative touch, inviting guests to linger. The elegantly set tables with placemats accommodate a maximum of thirty guests at a time, and the five rooms are consistently fully booked. Staying at the Hotel Garzon, in any of its cozy double rooms, offers guests a comprehensive experience that includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner with accompanying drinks from the renowned Juanico wines. Additional amenities include horse rentals and laundry services.
I have always had an affinity for this town, Mallmann remarks. The chef aims to provide visitors with an authentic experience of what he calls the Uruguay from within. He likens the development of Garzon to Tuscany in Italy and hopes that more people will choose to invest in this unique destination.
The newly established Garzon Club at Bodega Garzon has quickly become the premier members only wine club in Uruguay. Food and wine enthusiasts cannot stop praising the Bodega Garzon Restaurant, located within the winery itself.
For a delightful experience of al fresco tapas, visitors can head to the De Vinos De Mar winery in town. Additionally, there is a charming little store called Hills and Stone, offering art, textiles, and specialty food products. For a complete contrast to the relatively upscale Mallmann Restaurant, guests may wish to explore Restaurant Don Tomas in town, a small eatery with just one table.
The thriving wine industry is one of the factors driving the growing popularity of Uruguay. Whether you’re enjoying the views of the beautiful hills of Garzon in Punta Del Este’s Eastern region from a spacious deck or indulging in the luxury of a villa, you can experience some of the finest wines that the region has to offer.
In the past, Uruguay mainly produced large quantities of table wine without much distinction. However, in the last ten years, growers have shifted their focus to cultivating exceptional red wines that are now ranked among the best in the world. They achieve this by blending original Malbec with Syrah and Tannat grapes. Bodega Garzon, which is owned by billionaire Bulgheroni, gained recognition as the second-best winery in the world according to CNN in 2019. Their outstanding Tannat Reservas and incredible white wine called Albarino have received widespread acclaim, and their olive oil has also gained global recognition.
The modern, state-of-the-art buildings in Pueblo Garzon create an interesting juxtaposition with the peacefulness of the village. However, these contemporary structures coexist harmoniously with the local charm, allowing the majestic hills in the distance to remain a captivating presence at every turn in Pueblo Garzon.
Bodega Garzon is renowned for crafting wines that provide an unparalleled drinking adventure, leaving an indelible impression on your senses. Each sip of their exceptional wines takes you on a captivating journey, showcasing the mastery and artistry of their winemaking.
The winery offers an array of wines, meticulously made with utmost attention to detail, encompassing a wide spectrum of grape varieties. From robust reds to refreshing whites, their selection caters to all palates. Tannat and Albariño, their flagship wines, have garnered countless accolades for their remarkable flavor and distinct character.
Ensuring the preservation and care of their vineyards for future generations, Bodega Garzon adopts sustainable farming practices. This unwavering commitment to sustainability lies at the core of their winery, where not only the taste but also the eco-friendliness of their wines is a source of immense pride.
Bodega Garzon epitomizes the essence of Uruguayan winemaking. Their dedication to excellence, sustainability, and the sensory experience shines through every single bottle they produce.
Bodega Sierra Oriental
Located in the picturesque hills of Garzón, you will find Bodega Sierra Oriental, the renowned winery owned by Argentine financier Ruy Diz. Spanning across a vast 1,200-hectare farm, this winery produces a wide range of exceptional wines, including Tannat and Sangiovese. With a limited production of 40,000 exclusive bottles annually, each one is meticulously crafted to perfection.
If you wish to experience their exquisite wines, tastings and lunches can be arranged by appointment only. Conveniently situated on Ruta 39, at KM 46, Bodega Sierra Oriental welcomes wine enthusiasts to indulge in an unforgettable journey of flavors and aromas.
Vinos De Mar
A collaboration between chef Juan Pablo Clerici, entrepreneur Leo McLean, Deicas Family Winery, and Mendoza’s Michelini brothers has given birth to an exciting new boutique project. Nestled in the charming town of Garzón, Vinos de Mar hides discreetly behind a concrete facade. Here, they produce an impressive 60,000 bottles of their prized ‘transcendent wines’. During the summer months, visitors can also enjoy the Bar de Vinos, an extension of their popular Montevideo wine bar. Serving Spanish-style tapas in an al fresco setting, it is the perfect spot to savor the flavors of their exceptional wines.
Garzon Tajamares Golf Club, meticulously designed by Angel Cabrera, the Masters and US Open Champion, stands as Uruguay’s premier PGA golf course.
Garzón has evolved into a sanctuary not only for gastronomy and wine tourism but also for artistic endeavors. Spearheaded by Heidi Lender in 2018, the Campo Art-Fest has emerged as Pueblo Garzón’s annual artistic extravaganza, breathing new life into the town’s cultural offerings. With the participation of over 40 artists from across the globe, Pueblo Garzón becomes a sprawling creative playground during the final days of December.
Furthermore, during the peak season, Pueblo Garzón boasts an impressive number of art galleries, almost rivalling the number of residential houses. Here is just a glimpse of a few of them:
Just steps away from the square stands a unique renovated ruin that serves as the central hub for CAMPO, a non-profit creative institute. This multi-purpose establishment now functions as their headquarters, art studio, café, and gallery. Known as a place where coffee and creativity intertwine, the CAMPO Canteen also regularly hosts food and art events. CAMPO was established in 2017 by Heidi Lender, an American photographer, and it is currently in the process of constructing a new 13-hectare main campus on the Garzón River, which has been designed by the world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly.
COSTA DE JOSÉ IGNACIO + EL FARO
La Galerilla, now in its third season, hosts exhibitions of young emerging artists from Uruguay and abroad. Located in a restored antique train wagon, La Galerilla is the dream child of Ivan Martinez Autin, a third-generation gallerist, in collaboration with Aaron Hojman, antique dealer and owner of the Trading Post in La Barra. Artists at La Galerilla in 2024 will include: Camila Lacroze (Uruguay), Maria Chiara Baccanelli (Argentina),Benjamin Clemens (Texas, USA), Julian Pesce (Argentina),Gustavo Jauge (Uruguay),Marianella Ferreyra (Uruguay). The Garzón space is a place for informal meetings and discovering new art over a cup of coffee.
AVENIDA GARZÓN + IZCUA
The Black Gallery of Mercedes Sader and Paty Fernandez Graña, based in the Pueblo for several years, offers minimalist abstraction and mixes it with old masters of Uruguayan art history to create a contrasting curatorial narrative.
PASO DEL SAUCE + LA CANTERA
The Walden Gallery in Buenos Aires, featuring a modern design by Rodolfo Asconeguy Studio, has recently inaugurated its elegant premises. This remarkable initiative, led by owner Ricardo Ocampo, encompasses a range of exciting offerings such as year-round exhibitions showcasing contemporary Latin American artists, a wine bar with a focus on local wines, a captivating sculpture garden, and an artist residency program located in a neighboring house.
PUEBLO GARZÓN 23
Piero Atchugarry Gallery + Parque De Esculturas Garzón
Starting from the Garzón road, take a left turn at Pablo Atchugarry’s impressive metal sculpture and make your way towards Piero Atchugarry’s Tierra Garzón Gallery and Sculpture Park. Piero, who has also opened a second location near Miami’s Design District, currently operates his first gallery as an experimental space, featuring solo exhibitions and site-specific installations. Within the 159-hectare reserve, which boasts 15,500 native trees and shrubs, visitors can leisurely explore monumental sculptures set amidst natural surroundings. Moreover, in 2019, Piero expanded his presence in the vibrant downtown art scene by acquiring a charming casa located on the corner of the square. This intimate space now serves as a home for his network of international contemporary artists.
PUEBLO GARZÓN 21
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Properties for Sale in and around Garzon
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