In the early 20th century, the dry plains around San Rafael, a town in the south of Mendoza, yielded poor crops for the farmers. Don Jacinto Arizu and his brothers settled there after leaving the province of Navarra, Spain. They recognized the potential of the land and brought steam tractors to build a system of irrigation canals. They planted what is today the single largest plot of vineyard in the world, 3,800 hectares. They bottled their first wine in 1915. Today, Arizu Bodegas S.A.is one of the most important wineries in Argentina (60 million liters per year) and Villa Atuel has been declared a Historical Monument by the Government of the Province of Mendoza. This is to preserve this link to history that the best wines are now bottled under the El Tractor label.
In 1996, the Pueyo Echevarría Family, also Spaniards from Aragon and Vasconia, acquired Villa Atuel and began developing the production of high quality wine and olive oil. Their philosophy is to optimize the extraordinary quality of the land by applying the latest agricultural technology. Villa Atuel owns today 371 hectares of vineyards trained with vine arbor and trellis (espalier) systems. The cultivars that make up the vineyards are reproduced asexually on ungrafted rootstocks in the greenhouses and the propagation material is chosen by clonal selection in vineyards in the province of Mendoza. The estates are irrigated with water from the Atuel River – which comes from the Andes melting snow and glaciers, distributed by an extensive network of canals to different storage dams. The estate has eight water storage units with capacities ranging from 30 to 60 thousand cubic meters. From these reservoirs the water is pressurized into a drip irrigation system to which are added the nutrients that the vines need. The soils are of alluvial origin, deep and slightly alkaline. They have a broad textural classification, ranging from clay to sandy but most of them are loam soils, fertile and with good organic matter content. The state-of-the-art winery and the high level of care brought to every step of the production result in wines that while affordable, are balanced and true to their terroir.