A lot of wineries have upscale tasting rooms and gourmet restaurants on-site, but if they want to keep up with Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón, they better start planning their own golf courses. “We wanted to have the best facilities to make wine,” says founder Alejandro Bulgheroni, “but then we thought we we need to do something else here, and create a truly special experience.”
Surrounded by over 500 acres of vineyards, Bodega Garzón’s beautiful new winery and hospitality building, opened in 2016, is a treat for any visitor, with sweeping views, a restaurant advised by renown-chef Francis Mallman, and its own olive oil mill on the premises. But for that “truly special experience,” there is The Garzón Club, where a $200,000 membership gives access to a lot more than a tour of the vineyards.
For starters, there is the Los Tajamares Golf Club, located within the greater 10,000 acre estate, where members can play 18 holes surrounded by olive groves and chestnut fields on a course designed by Argentinian golf champion Angel Cabrera. “We included the golf club membership in the same package,” says Bulgheroni, “and we’ve partnered with the PGA to make it their first Preferred Course outside the United States.”
Member can also participate in a vintners program, where they can make their own custom wines under the consultation of Garzón’s winemakers. “It’s up to each person to decide how involved they want to get,” says Bulgheroni, “they can participate in the harvest, crush, the blending, and up to the label design.” The program also includes the ability to make wine from Bulgheroni’s other wineries around the world, including Napa, Montalcino, Bordeaux and Australia. “You can make a southern hemisphere wine in March, and a northern hemisphere wine in summer. For a wine lover, it’s the only chance to make wine from 12 appellations.”
Members will have to wait for some of the other major projects to roll out, including a lodge and spa adjacent to the winery, and a beach club with a restaurant in José Ignacio — Bodega Garzón is only 11 miles, and a 20 minute drive, from the Atlantic Ocean coastline. And while there will be activities for members at Bulgheroni’s other wineries, Uruguay is the home of his luxury wine club vision. “This area is such a wonderful place, and I believe it has to be shared by as many people as possible. We have people coming from Argentina and Brazil, and also many from Europe. There’s an appetite for what Uruguay has to offer — we’re not that big yet, but it’s coming for the whole region.”