My husband and I were visiting Mendoza for a milestone birthday, and the icing on the cake was Vendimia, the city\u2019s annual celebration of the grape harvest. Plaza fountains flowed red, and it seemed a parade was around every corner. Perhaps a little chaos in the air, too.\r\n\r\nUpon the recommendation of a friend we decided to visit Cepas Elegidas, a winery in nearby Maip\u00fa. She knew the vintner, Brennan Firth, and helped arrange a tour for us.\r\n\r\nAccording to our guidebook, Maip\u00fa was a \u201cfeasible\u201d cab ride from our homestay in downtown Mendoza. En route, we realized \u201cfeasible,\u201d or any other point of reference, is rendered useless in the backseat of a speeding taxi in rural Argentina, with no hope for a Wi-Fi connection or a cell phone enabled for international calls. After circling the few scattered bodegas (wineries) twice and querying a handful of locals, it was clear we were lost.\r\n\r\nThe meter ticking away, our driver sweating and frustrated, we got desperate and motioned for him to stop at an olive farm we had passed a few times. He dropped us off, and as he peeled out of the gravel drive, we discovered the venue had just closed for siesta.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nA farm hand appeared and offered to rouse the proprietor from her nap to help us. Hesitant to disrupt this midday ritual, we gratefully accepted, and were soon approached by Florencia Giol, our accidental host, who ushered us out of the sun into the cool of the farm store to troubleshoot our problem.\r\n\r\nEducating us about the family olive oil business while conducting a series of phone calls, Florencia not only discovered the source of our dilemma\u2014woefully incomplete directions\u2014but summoned the wine man himself to our rescue.\r\n\r\nThough we were embarrassed, we were touched to have received help and hospitality from a stranger. With a bag of olive products we purchased in thanks, we departed with Brennan.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAt the winery, it was a tasting to remember: Late-season hail pelted the warehouse as we bellied up to a table Brennan had prepared with every bottling he had on hand.\r\n\r\nNext, we tasted the barrels. Except one\u2014an experiment gone awry. \u201cTrust me,\u201d he said. \u201cYou don\u2019t want to try that.\u201d\r\n\r\nWe fell into an unhurried rhythm. Sure, there was a cost\u2014a long cab ride to nowhere, and a check of our expectations at the door\u2014but as with the seasons, things happen in reverse in South America. And so, naturally, this particular tasting came complete with a ride back to town, courtesy of Brennan.\r\n\r\nHe wouldn\u2019t let us take him to dinner and instead insisted we have beers with him at his favorite Mendoza hangout. He stepped in and grabbed the beers while we pulled up a sidewalk table. By the time he emerged, all eyes were on us: A soccer match was on and we were unknowingly blocking the TV.\r\n\r\nWith the game as backdrop, we scuttled back to our curbside table, slugged our beers, laughed and chatted. That morning, I wouldn\u2019t have thought beer and soccer would end this day\u2019s adventure, but now I knew it was the only way.\r\n\r\nGwendolyn Elliott is the senior digital editor of Seattle magazine.