20 February 2020, The Tablet

Bodega brilliance

From the Vineyard

Bodega brilliance

THE reputation of Chilean and Argentinian wines for good value and high quality has secured for South America a premier place in the global wine market. But the New World wine boom began, not in Chile or Argentina but Chile’s neighbour, Peru. The first vines to be planted in the Americas were planted in the former Inca capital, Cuzco, high in the Andes, by Spaniards from Andalucia and Extremadura in the 1540s.

The Spanish went on to cultivate vast vineyards in the Ica Valley in south-central Peru in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to meet the demand for wine from the expanding mining population in what is now Bolivia. Workers’ salaries were paid partly in wine and the canny Peruvians astutely cornered the market. The elite of Lima, Peru’s capital, then and now, maintained pressure to produce wines of quality, as opposed to the miners’ demand for quantity. It was only after Peru established a thriving vinicultural base that vines arrived in Chile.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £30 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login