During colonial times, and until mid-nineteenth century, the winemaking process was rudimentary; it was done in small amounts and was domestic in nature. The winery was a small area associated to the houses, often an isolated room or sometimes, attached to the house, with thick adobe walls and few openings to make it withstand large thermal amplitudes between day and night. The roofs, with little slope could be shed or gable like, were formed by rafters of chañar or carob, covered with reeds and mud tiles.
Under these rudimentary buildings, the winemaking would begin with the crushing of the grapes in the manual presses. Those usually were a structure made with bovine leather and wood. Then an artisanal method would be used: the grapes were mashed ¨a pata¨ with the feet in those cow or ox leather presses. Once the must was ready, it was dropped through the tail of the animal, which worked as a conduct, and while the grapes were being mashed, this hole was blocked with a wood plug. The must and the skins were then collected in leather buckets, called ¨noques¨, fitted with rings through which two wood sticks were put, which would allow the winemakers to transport them to the cellar. Once there, the liquid was poured into large clay vessels, where the fermentation would occur. The vessels were conveniently placed on logs of trees, lying parallel on the dirt floor to allow good ventilation. After the fermentation, the new wine was transferred to the maintenance vessels, this process used to be done simply by gravitation, by removing the wood plug from the fermentation jug. During this manoeuvre, a sieve or strainer made of leather with holes would be used, so that the wine would be separated from the seeds, the skins and other impurities. Once filled the conservation jug with the new wine, it would be sealed with a lid of lime, clay or plaster, to prevent the entry of any foreign body. The wine was then left to rest or age until it was taken away.
With these methods the processing and marketing of wine started to be consolidated, which prompted the demand for the expansion of the vineyards. According to the census of 1739, there were 500,000 vine plants in Mendoza – according to the parameters of the twenty-first century – it would be the equivalent to an area of 70 hectares. With that grape production one could produce 400,000 litres of wine in the ten wineries in existence.