The Mendoza wine industry, currently the largest in Latin America and fifth largest in the world, is the inheritor of an almost 500 year-long process of evolution in the cultivation of grape vines and the development of wine making. The most studied period of its history corresponds to the construction of British railroads and the tremendous wave of Italian, Spanish and French immigration that began in the 1880s. Prior to the modern period, however, there was a traditional period in the Argentine wine industry, characterized by artisan production and ecclesiastical control. In the mid-nineteenth century, members of the clergy and religious groups controlled nearly 80 percent of the wine industry in Mendoza. This article examines the origins of viticulture in Mendoza, with particular reference to the influence of the clergy, and the subsequent secularization of the wine industry. At the same time, it discusses the role that the Godoy family played in the rise and consolidation of the wine making and its separation from ecclesiastical control.