Early in the 20th century the plains around San Rafael, a town in the south of Mendoza, were dry and farming yielded little. Then steam tractors were brought in to build a system of irrigation canals. When water flowed from the Rio Atuel to the fertile land beneath the Andes, farmers planted vines and olive trees. On the Villa Atuel estate the first wines were made in 1915.
Today Villa Atuel is a national monument and the vines in the deep,
slightly alkaline soils of the estate are still drip-irrigated with water
from the Rio Atuel.
To preserve this link to history, the owners decided to bottle their best
wines under the El Tractor label.