Two bridges to the wine country In Argentina.
It takes a special sense of adventure and love of travel to purchase a vineyard in Argentina when Kansas is home. That’s exactly what the mountain-climbing, wine-loving DeWayne Bridges and his wife Linda have… a keen sense of keeping things lively for themselves and their family. The Bridges are the proud owners of a 150-acre vineyard in the Uco Valley, outside of Mendoza, Argentina. Situated at approximately 3,200 feet and below the majestic Andes Mountains, this is the ideal climate and “terrior” for grape growing. The locale boasts the right soil, sunshine, rainfall and altitude to produce some elegant and enjoyable wines. (In case a quick translation is needed, Dos Puentes means two bridges – get it? Two Bridges – DeWayne and Linda!)
During a mountain climbing expedition on Mt. Aconcagua, DeWayne discovered a love for the region of Argentina, as well as the people there. He and Linda had previously discussed owning a winery, but didn’t want to enter the saturated California market. So, in 2012, they purchased the acreage, which included some existing vines. Those vines, 12 years old and in need of some tender loving care, meant that the Bridges needed to hire a consultant from California to advise them of the best ways to coax great grapes and produce the Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Chardonnay they wanted to put in production. They also brought their family into the business, adding daughter Kelly, son-in-law Ed, grandson Joshua, and granddaughter-in-law Pricilla to the mix. Everyone pitched in to oversee the business and facilitate the transition to the new world of winemaking.
With the help of an operations manager on-site, the family has been able to return to the states to live, while Kelly works as the distribution manager, and DeWayne’s daughter Jessica is in charge of marketing and social media. The first wine production occurred in 2013, and Kansas was the first state to import the Dos Puentes label. Patrons of the Stems event at the Overland Park Arboretum in 2014 and 2015 were lucky enough to partake in the wines, as Dos Puentes donated all of the wine served.
Currently the production includes an Estate Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay fermented in stainless steel. They also make a Torrontes (similar to Pinot Grigio), and in 2014 began making a reserve line with Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in French oak barrels. In 2016, the vineyard will produce a new blend with the grafted Merlot that will now produce Cab Franc and Pinot Noir grapes.
In keeping with their adventurous spirit, the Bridges have a dream of building a destination resort on the portion of the property that is not conducive to grape growing. They are anticipating an economy and business climate in Argentina that makes their dream possible in the next few years. Then, they will have come full circle with their original vision of having a winery and resort in the spectacular Uco Valley. In the meantime, the family is happy to be making and importing some superior wines using the best grapes in the region. That translates into unique tastes with everything from full-bodied reds to floral, fruity whites. Start your own adventure by tasting some of these treats. Check with your local liquor store, including Lukas, Rimann, and many more, and look for the whimsical, artistic label commissioned by the Bridges. You might fall in love with Argentinian wine by Dos Puentes as much as the two Bridges have.