To Mendoza for the Masters of Food & Wine: Introduction


In early March I was invited to attend the Masters of Food & Wine event in Mendoza, Argentina, which was being held from March 31 through April 3. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity, especially since it would be my first time in South America. I wasn’t familiar with what the Masters of Food & Wine Event is, so I’ll let their website summarize:

Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine Tour of the World 2011 is an unparalleled food and wine tour executed in the most sophisticated and refined fashion at four premier Park Hyatt locations around the world where award-winning chefs masterpieces pair with the best wines.

This is a pretty spectacular four part event being hosted all over the world this year, showcasing some of the best chefs and wineries out there, at some of the best Park Hyatts. The first event, which I attended, was in Mendoza. Then there are three more this year, in Washington, Zurich, and Shanghai, all of which will be hosted at Park Hyatts in those cities.

My business class airfare, stay at the Park Hyatt Mendoza, and admission to all the events were comped, given that Park Hyatt, American Airlines, and all of the wineries we visited are sponsors of the event (and I’ll be sure to disclose that in every subsequent post on the subject, though hopefully y’all know me well enough to know that I’m quite outspoken about my impressions, and I have no plans to hold back here).

In the end my itinerary looked like this:
March 30, American 1873, Orlando to Miami, 8:55PM-10:00PM
March 30, American 943, Miami to Buenos Aires, 11:15PM-9:15AM (+1 day)
March 31, Aerolineas Argentinas 1418, Buenos Aires to Mendoza, 2:20PM-4:10PM
April 3, Aerolineas Argentinas 1417, Mendoza to Buenos Aires, 1:18PM-2:50PM
April 3, American 900 Buenos Aires to Miami, 8:25PM-4:35AM (+1 day)
April 4, American 404, Miami to Orlando, 6:40AM-7:45AM

A long weekend in Argentina touring scenic wineries? Awesome!

My travel was to start on Wednesday evening, and that afternoon I had a bit of an “oh crap” moment, as it was 3PM and I realized that I hadn’t started packing for my trip yet. So after running around like a mad man trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends, not to mention to pack for a five day trip, it was off to Orlando Airport at around 5PM.

Stay tuned for what was an incredible journey… more to come shortly.

Filed Under: Travel
  1. For non-hard core travelers, that is a lot of traveling consider how long you were actually visiting the city. From my rough estimate (allowing time to/from the airport and getting there around 2 hrs early) you were traveling for 44 hrs and were only visiting about 67 hrs.

    Obviously something only a FF or a business person would actually do. I’ve done some same day turnarounds but I think I would need more time to recover from traveling. I’m guessing for you, this isn’t unusual.

    Did you get a chance to see any of the city or was most of your time schedule for various events?

  2. I can’t believe you only scheduled a 75 minute layover for a major international flight. I’m far too neurotic for that, particularly if it’s the last flight of the night to my destination

  3. @Sam — Espeically at MIA. You could practically miss that connection just walking from one gate to the next.

  4. I asked this in one of the other posts: Just out of curiousity, why you didn’t route through SCL? No airport change EZE/AEP in BsAs, a bit shorter, and better scenery! (On a comped ticket, it’s not like you were going for extra miles here…)

  5. @Crammer: Federal Government regulations require that you fly to a gateway in the same country as your final destination 🙂

    OK, fine, I know Lucky wasn’t traveling on Uncle Sam’s dime, but this is (or at least was) an actual regulation of the U.S. Government: I knew a government employee who had some official business in Innsbruck, and had to jump through many hoops to get permission to fly into Munich (2 hours from Innsbruck by train) rather than connect via Vienna.

  6. Lucky, I appreciate your disclosure on the comps. After looking at the disclosure page on crankyflier, it became apparent how much those of you in this industry are invited/comped, etc. Since you’ve made the decision to do this full time following this week, I think it is professional of you.

  7. Lucky, cant wait for more to come on your journey experience. First time in Mendoza? I live here and work with a Car Rental Company I built up 4 years ago. I like to get to know foreigners and give them the best commodities to travel through Mendoza. Hope you have a nice fly, and do not doubt contacting me for any question. Goodbye!

  8. @rich i actually have this conversation with a lot of people – the fact that the international portion/longest flight is overnight makes a huge difference, especially if you’re flying in business. if lucky was just going to EZE, he’d leave orlando close to 9pm and arrive at 9am rested and ready to sightsee.

    I think of these overnights to south america as more of a flying hotel bed than “time in transit” given i’d be sleeping anyway.

  9. also worth noting that the returns are redeyes – lucky left close to 9pm and arrived back in orlando before 8pm – if he had a desk job, he could roll right in.

  10. @ rich (arizona) — In terms of exhaustion from travel, this was probably the least stressful trip I’ve taken in a long time. Two eight hour redeyes without any serious time change make it fairly easy. Stay tuned for the trip report as to what I saw, but the schedule was pretty strenuous so I didn’t have too much time to see the city.

    @ Sam — They booked my ticket, so that’s what I ended up with. My flight to Miami ended up being 30 minutes late, though I still made the connection with time to spare.

    @ crammer — Like I said, they booked my ticket, so I had little control over that.

    @ Aaron — I certainly haven’t been comped as much as Cranky, though when I am comped something, I always disclose it. It’s the only thing to do, ethically and legally.

    @ Claudia — It was indeed my first time in Mendoza, and more than that, my first time in South America.

    @ spaced2 — Well said. I’ve experienced just about every form of travel exhaustion there is in terms of destinations, and South America was by far the easiest. A small time change combined with a fairly long flight made it very easy.

  11. Hi Ben:

    I was a journalist on the Mendoza trip — we were a pretty small group and I didn’t see you there. Any idea why they kept you separate from the rest of us?

  12. @ Paul — Are you sure we didn’t meet? I think there were about 50 of us, so I wouldn’t call it a small group, though I think most people ended up at the same tables for dinner every night.

  13. @ben wait, were you that guy? LOL I dunno we might have met but I was usually drunk or busy taking pictures of high fat food and then stuffing my face. Good times…

  14. @ Paul — ROFL. “That guy?” Not sure I want to know who “that guy” was, but yeah, it was probably me. 😀

  15. How’s things, slightly off-topic but is anyone able to tell me if they are getting a timeout error when they arrive at this sites index page?

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