One of the most important countries for wine in South America, Argentina is also the 5th largest wine producer in the world following Italy, France, Spain and the U.S., with over 15 million hectolitres per year. It also boasts the highest altitude vineyards (circa 3000 metres above sea level) which helps prolong the growing season. Unlike Chile that has the cooling influence of the Pacific due to winds, rain and fog, Argentina is hot and dry. Higher vineyards create cooler temperatures, most notably at night, without decreasing the amount of sunshine. This contributes to more complex mouthfeels and finer aromas. There are a number of wine regions all of which are located on the Chilean border (rather than on the Pacific). They are divided into three main sectors – the North, Cuyo, the epicenter of Argentina’s wine industry, and Patagonia, its most southern and isolated area. The most famous of its regions is Mendoza but a number of them can produce excellent wines, such as Salta, San Juan and Rio Negro Valley. The country produces an incredible array of grape varieties, particularly when compared to its neighbour Chile. One can find all the of major French grapes, but also some of the most unusual Italian grapes such as Bonarda as well as some that are considered indigenous to the area like its sought-after Torrontés. However, its most famous variety is Malbec, which originated in southwest France and which today is used in Cahors. Due to its unusual climate, it takes on another personality, one with exuberance, lots of fruit and velvety tannins.