Wine making began in South America when the Spanish introduced vitaculture nearly 500 years ago. The art quickly moved throughout the region from Peru and Chile into Brazil and Uruguay. Today, South America is the fastest growing wine continent on earth with more than 600 unique wineries. If you’re looking for something new to try, be sure to follow some of the continent’s upcoming wine regions below.
Ica Wine Region of Peru
Peru is known more for their Pisco, an alcohol similar to tequila, although the region is now becoming known for their unique wines. If you’d like to try Peruvian wine, Ica is the place to be. The wine here is very sweet so it’s an acquired taste for some. You can also stop by the region for the annual Ica Wine Festival, which is held around mid-March.
Vale do São Francisco, Brazil
Most of Brazil’s vineyards are located in the Serra Gaúcha, although this region is very humid so it’s hard to get grapes to fully ripen. This newer wine region of Brazil is showing great promise, particularly along the banks of São Francisco river. Here, the river is used to irrigate the lands while the climate is warm enough to yield a few crops every year. The Syrah from this new region is especially impressive.
The wine regions of Chile have been expanding exponentially in recent years and now envelope the Coquimbo region to the north. Wines produced from the Limari Valley are particularly excellent as the ocean brings a cooler climate that allows the grapes to ripen slowly over time. This adds more subtle nuance than you find in the Chilean wines grown father inland. Be sure to try wine from Viña Francisco de Aguirre, which really pioneered winemaking in this new region.
Uco Valley Region of Argentina
Not long ago, Argentina’s Uco Valley was completely unplanted until Michel Rolland of Clos de los Siete began a massive project in the area. He planted vineyards on 2,100 acres in the valley and today has a number of facilities producing new brands of Argentinian wine. This valley, near Mendoza, sits at the base of the Andes and has become a key wine region of the country. For the most part, the grapes grown in this region include Chardonnay, Torrontes, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Gris. An excellent recommendation for a wine made in the Uco Valley region is the Michel Rolland Clos de los Siete, a rich Bordeaux blend.
Casablanca Valley, Chile
Chile has seen a huge rise in wine-producing with many regions now challenging your preconceptions of wine from the country. One of these upcoming regions is the Casablanca Valley, which is now producing some exciting Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs. This region was only discovered in the last decade and is now one of the fastest growing wine regions in Chile. Most of the vineyards here are planted on flat plains or gentle slopes with low fertility soil, ideal for growing wine grapes. Two of the best vineyards to try include the Casas del Bosque and William Cole.