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South America: On Cloud Wine

Jimmy Strainge investigates the recent surge in importance of South American wine production

Often when we talk about producing wine it is easy to be jetted off to the stereotypical Champagne region of France, where an enchanting Chateau overlooks a seemingly endless vineyard stretching out into the sunset. However, the figurative and literal growth of South American vineyards is now beginning to change this conventional image of wine production. ‘New World’. This took place after the arrival of Christopher Columbus who not only set in motion the downfall of local indigenous communities but also their alcoholic drinks in his attempts to start producing wine. This was however with the exception of one such indigenous drink which actually grew in popularity, namely ‘Pulquey’.

The production of wine and the study of viticulture were brought to South America by Jesuit missionaries in the 1500s who were looking to mark the beginning of wine production in the

The serious and industrial practice of viticulture began firstly in Chile and then progressed into Argentina and today they both attribute their success to the climates that they enjoy.

More specifically the dry and arid climate located on either side of the Andes contributes to the success of cultivating grapes. The mountainous slopes provide the vineyards with lots of sunshine and naturally irrigated soils, creating a diverse microclimate perfect for growing grapes. Since the infancy of their wine production, large improvements in the quality of the end product and huge leaps in popularity have allowed for Chile and Argentina to emerge with a powerful impact on the world’s wine scene. This impact can be seen in the fact that the continent on the whole was responsible for 7.6% of global wine exports in 2018.

The current top spot within the South American wine regions and the type of wine is the Mendoza region in Argentina where their Malbec is world famous and a growing favourite for many oenophiles (wine lovers). Perhaps this recommendation may entice our adult readers into supporting this and many other regions of South America which are competing on a global scale in the world of wine.

Vineyards in the Chilean mountains
“Many regions of South America are competing on a global scale in the world of wine”