Argentina is like a multifaceted jewel. Whichever way you turn, the intricate beauty is overwhelming! Standing as the eighth largest country in the world, the Argentine landscape includes the Andes Mountains, 30 national parks, and several thousand miles of Atlantic coastline. The Argentine culture, consisting of a mix of ethnic groups, thrives in colorful diversity and a range of arts seen nowhere else, including music, film, galleries, and museums.
Perhaps the greatest art found in Argentina is that of wine production. Standing as the 5th largest wine industry in the world, Argentine wine is loved both internally and internationally, and maintains an important standing in the worldwide viticultural community. Quality has been Argentina’s primary focus since the early 1990’s, fueling its own popularity by providing fine natural and even organic wines. Pursuits like these have improved export statistics and the entire industry.
The History of Argentine Wine
Argentine wine dates back to the Spanish colonization of the Americas over 450 years ago. Influential groups include Christian missionaries, who brought cuttings from the Chilean Central Valley, and Jesuit missionaries, who established the first commercial vineyard in Argentina. The regions of San Juan and Mendoza quickly became vital to Argentine wine, eventually producing the famous Criolla Chica, or Pais grape variety.
As the nation developed, economics played a large part in the direction and success of the wine industry. While Argentina stood as the eighth richest country in the world in the 1920’s, the economy fell and struggled to regain its balance throughout the following decades. It wasn’t until the 90’s that the Argentine peso stabilized and advanced winemaking techniques were introduced from foreign wine industries such as California, France, and Australia. Exports grew rapidly, with over 3.3 million gallons shipping to the U.S. by the late 90’s.
The 21st century will be (and is already) full of immense growth for Argentine wine. Over 1,500 wineries decorate the South American landscape, and yields continue to increase.
This is just the beginning…
Over the next few days, the Cellars Wine Club Blog will be focusing on beautiful Argentina and the Argentine wine industry. Specific wines, wineries, and food pairings will be highlighted throughout this week, with a blog post planned for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction – please enjoy the next installment tomorrow!
11/14/13 EDIT: For those following our blog, we apologize for the technical errors that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday. Our blog was completely down until Wednesday afternoon, leaving our Argentine Wine series slightly postponed. Please continue to check back for more wine blogging and appreciation for wines around the world.