South America Wine Travel Guide
Since wine is made in nearly every country on Earth, it is not hard to find vineyards, wineries and wine wherever one goes. But if you are a vacationer in search of truly great wine, the playing field starts to narrow. In the last few decades throughout the wine world there has been a renewed emphasis on improving quality and exporting wine. Nowhere are these two trends more apparent than in the wine regions of South America. Today, wine lovers everywhere are snapping up incredible wines that come from places far different from the storied vineyards of the past. If your wine experiences have never led you to the two South American giants, Chile and Argentina, then it is time to expand your horizons and learn more about why the continent of South America is on the rise.
Wine has been a part of daily life in South America since colonial times. Large amounts of wine were produced for centuries, primarily for local consumption and not for export. The countries of Chile and Argentina remained “sleeping giants” in the world of wine until quite recently. For wine travelers, South America is a new frontier begging to be explored. And while Argentina and Chile are the big boys, Uruguay is also producing exciting new wines.
From the dense Amazonian rainforests to the jagged peaks of the Andes, South America is comprised of many contrasts. With steamy tropical jungles in the north, the glaciers of Patagonia at the southern tip and everything in between, South America does not fit neatly into any category. The mysterious native cultures of ancient times such as the Inca and Maya, have melded with the colonial European heritage of the more recent past to weave the brightly colored tapestry that is modern Latin American culture. Poor and rural, wealthy and densely populated, politically volatile and timelessly tranquil somehow co-exist throughout the fourth largest continent in the world.
Travelers with a spirit of discovery will find an endless series of adventures in South America. If wine is high on your list, do not miss the opportunity to visit both Chile and Argentina. The Andes Mountains split these countries in two, but on both sides of the Andes there is pure water, volcanic soils and unique high-desert microclimates that produce intense, complex wines that are uniquely delicious. Be prepared to be surprised and delighted on a wine vacation to South America.