The History of Wine in South America
The production of wine and the study of viticulture were brought to South America by Jesuit missionaries in the 1500s, marking the commencement of wine production in the New World. The practice began in Chile and then in Argentina, where both countries attribute success in the industry to the climate, which is favorable for wine growth. Since, large improvements in quality and huge leaps in popularity have allowed for Chile and Argentina to emerge with a powerful impact on the world’s wine scene. Chilean wine has had more success in the world market but Argentina’s focus on improved quality is making a large impact as a result. Uruguay has also found some success in the production of wine, making this region of South America a hot spot for the production of wine, as well as for tourism. With great strides being taken to improve the quality of wine, the result is a booming industry with a high quality of wine in the world market.
The climate of the wine regions in Argentina and Chile are very similar. Located on either side of the Andes, dry and arid climates contribute to the success of cultivating grapes. Most of the vineyards in Chile and Argentina are located at higher elevations with lots of sunshine, making this diverse microclimate perfect for growing. The irrigation supplied by the run-off from snow in the Andes means that the soil is naturally favorable and that no artificial irrigation is required. Uruguay enjoys a similar climate although slightly more diverse. Regardless, all three are home to a favorable mixture of land and air and as a result – a booming wine industry.