There are many wineries one can visit in and around San Rafael. We stopped at La Abeja because it’s a fairly small winery with a rich history. San Rafael was first a French settlement founded by a gentleman named Rodolfo Iselin. He founded the first winery (La Abeja) in 1883 and ran it for a number of years until he finally went back to France. His house is still standing and the present owners are planning to some day turn it into a museum. http://www.bodegalaabeja.com.ar
80 km east of San Rafael is the city of General Alvear. There we visited the winery El Faraon, on the east side of town. From afar the buildings look like some abandoned concrete plant, but looks can be deceiving. The winery operated until 2012, before it was taken over by the government and is now used as a multicultural space for expositions and various events. Bodega El Faraon was at one time the Argentine winery with, by far, the largest production. The son of the founder was an engineer who contributed many new ideas to the wine industry. Many of his designs are still in use worldwide today.