Argentina, nestled in the southeastern quadrant of South America, is a land of rich and varied landscapes. Enclosed by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Antarctica to the south, Chile to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, and Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, Argentina’s topography exhibits a gradual descent from west to east. The western region is dominated by the undulating and majestic Andes mountains, which constitute about 30% of the country’s total area. The eastern and central Pampas grasslands are renowned agricultural and pastoral areas, while the northern part is primarily the Gran Chaco plain, abundant with swamps and forests. The southern region is home to the windswept plains of Patagonia. The main mountains include Ojos de Salado Mountain, Mejicana Mountain, and Aconcagua Mountain, which at an altitude of 6964 meters, is the highest peak in South America.
Overview of the Production Area
Argentina stands as the largest wine producer in South America, the fourth largest producer and wine consumer market in the world, and also a representative country of emerging wine producing regions in the world. Red wine is the best wine in Argentina. The main grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the most famous Malbec.
Malbec, which fell out of favor in the Bordeaux region in the 19th century with the advent of Cabernet Sauvignon, is now the most important grape in Argentina. Wines made from Malbec are the most fruity, satisfying wines in Argentina, and no one is quite sure why the Malbec grape grows so well in this region. Among the white wines, Argentine Chardonnay is of good quality, and Torrontes white wine is also extremely aromatic.
The area of Argentine winemaking vineyards accounts for about 3% of the world, which is equivalent to one-third of the total area of grape fields in the southern hemisphere. There are an average of 300 sunny days every year. The rainfall is low and the climate is dry, which greatly reduces the number of diseases and reduces the use of chemicals, allowing the grapes to fully ripen. Argentina is also one of the major producers of concentrated grape juice Concentrated Must/Mout Concentre in the world. This concentrated grape juice is clear and colorless and is used to increase the alcoholic strength of wine. Influenced by European immigrants, most of the popular European grape varieties are not difficult to find in Argentina.
The livestock industry in Argentina is flourishing. Due to the climate and geography, the beef raised is particularly tender and refreshing, and most of the residents eat meat. The famous Argentine dish – grilled meat Asado. They eat less green vegetables, but must drink a special kind of Yerba mate tea produced by the Yerba yerba mate and drink a lot of wine every day. Each person drinks an average of about 65 liters of wine every year. Therefore, domestic wines are mostly supplied to the domestic market of the country.
History of the Production Area
The production and drinking of wine in Argentina can be traced back to the early sixteenth century, more than four hundred years ago. In 1516, the first Vitis vinifera wine grapes were brought to the Americas by Spanish colonists. As a result, the heritage of the Argentine winemaking industry is deeply influenced by European experience and tradition.
In 1551, the first vines were planted in Argentina and quickly spread to the center, west and northeast. The high-quality soil and climate of the Andes region have allowed the wine industry to achieve large-scale and rapid growth. At that time, the colonists brought grape varieties belonging to Europe.Due to the different climates, it was not very smooth to find a suitable geographical location for trial planting. Until 1577, missionaries from Peru successfully planted grapes in Santiago del Estero, the Andes Mountains. Catholic priests who came to the land planted vines around their monasteries to ensure wine was available at Holy Mass.
Strongly influenced by Spain and Italy, the most systematic vineyards and wineries were established by the descendants of immigrants from those two countries. From the 16th to the 18th century, due to the Spanish wine sale system, grape cultivation was not very prosperous.
It wasn’t until General San Martin defeated the Spaniards in 1820 that Argentina became an independent country, and ordinary residents were able to cultivate grapes freely.
In the nineteenth century, European settlers brought new growing techniques and grape varieties that found ideal growing conditions in the Andes and the Colorado Valley.
Between 1850 and 1880, Argentina finally joined the international economic network. This was made possible by two factors: first, the expansion of the railways, which allowed for the development of interprovincial circulation; and second, the inclusion of Patagonia into Argentine territory after the “conquest of the desert”, forcing the native population to retreat. The land of the new income was very suitable for agricultural production, and the arrival of immigrants laid the foundation for the development of the Argentine wine industry.
In 1853, Quinta Normal, Argentina’s first agricultural school, opened in Mendoza. Michel Aime Pouget, who was the first person to introduce French grapes to Mendoza, was appointed as the principal, promoting the cultivation of French grapes and teaching scientific methods to improve fruit development. The first signs of modernization of the wine industry are emerging in Mendoza and San Juan.
By 1873, Argentina had 5,000 acres of vineyards. By 1893, the acreage had expanded fivefold to 25,000 acres. In the early 1900s, the vineyard area had reached 519,800 acres.
At the beginning of the 20th century, groups of new immigrants from Spain, Italy and France brought advanced grape cultivation and brewing techniques, and Argentine wine officially entered a new era.
In 1960, a large brewing facility, bottling plant and a production refinement system were finally completed, and a solid distribution and retail network covered the main consumption centers of the country.
In the 1970s, the domestic market was based on the world’s popular model, and the production model of a large number of low-quality wines was eliminated, while soft drinks and beer entered the market and the decline caused the consumption of table wine to drop from 90 liters per capita in 1990 to 55 liters per capita in 1991. Between 1982 and 1992, vineyards were extensively uprooted, with 36% of existing vineyards removed.
Argentina is divided geographically from north to south into three wine regions:
- North: Catamarca, Salta, Tucuman
- Cuyo: La Rioja, Mendoza, San Juan
- Patagonia: La Pampa, Neuquen, Rio Negro
The most important of these is Mendoza in the Cuyo region, which is the largest wine producing region in Argentina, accounting for 60% of the country’s total production. The most notable is the High Rio Mendoza Zone, which gathers nearly 400 wineries and 30,000 hectares of grape planting area. Luran de Cuyo is located in the northern region of Mendoza, at an altitude of 900 meters. It produces grapes with good acidity and is the cradle of fine Argentine wines.San Rafael, located in the foothills of the Andes in the Mendoza region, produces high quality wines. Maipu is a long-standing and well-known wine-producing area in Argentina. It belongs to the wine-producing area in the north of Mendoza and in the south of Mendoza, the capital of Mendoza. With an excellent planting environment, it is unanimously recognized as the most elite wine producing area in Argentina. Excellent wines are produced here.
San Juan Province (San Juan) is the second largest wine-producing region in Argentina, and its grape-growing area and wine production both rank second in Argentina. There are a series of adjacent valleys. The viticultural areas in this area range from 1200m to 600m above sea level, suitable for growing many kinds of grapes. Excellent wines are produced here.
La Rioja is located in the west of Argentina. La Rioja Province is one of the AOCs in Argentina and produces high-quality wines.
The Rio Negro in Patagonia is Argentina’s southernmost wine region. The grapes produced here have a balanced sweetness and acidity reminiscent of European grapes. There are valleys suitable for growing high-quality grapes, and there are wineries producing high-quality Malbec, which are directly exported to Europe.
There is a famous wine producing area called Valles Calchaques (Valles Calchaques) in Salta (Salta) in the northern region (Nort). of grapes.
The northern part of Argentina has a subtropical humid climate, the central part has a subtropical and tropical desert climate, and the southern part has a temperate continental climate. The annual average temperature in most areas is between 16-23 °C. There is abundant precipitation in the northeast, about 1000 millimeters, and 250 millimeters in the northwest and south. There is more rainfall in summer.
Mostly younger sedimentary layers, with high sand content in many areas.
Main Grape Varieties
- Red grape varieties: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir
- White grape varieties: Torrontes, Chardonnay, Pedro Gimenez, Torrontes Riojano, Chenin, Torrontes Sanjuanino, Sauvignon, Semillon, Viognier