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WSET Diploma Unit 3: Americas > Bolivia and Peru > Flashcards

Flashcards in Bolivia and Peru Deck (8)
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Bolivia: Key Points


52 world producer. 20,000ha

Vines brought from neighbouring Peru in 16th by monks.

Continental & tropical climate (Region III/IV) w vineyards at 2,000-2,500m

Key regions: Tarija near Argentina border (Concepcion winery)

Key grapes: Muscat of Alexandria = 80% of vinifera varieties mainly for table wine & spirit production

Espalier, hi vine density & irrigation widely used.


Peru: Key Points


Oldest south American wine nation with vines planted in Peru since 1530’s. Now, 36th largest wine producer in world

Warm winters -> 2 crops/year w majority used for table grapes & pisco

Key grapes:

  • Tannat, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, Albilla

Key producers: Tamaca vineyards (w French consultant)




in south america has a long history of vine-growing but its modern wine industry is very small. Viticulture was brought to Bolivia from neighbouring peru in the 16th century by Spanish settlers and Catholic missionaries. Between 1550 and 1570 the first vineyards were established in the foothills of Sutó surrounding the recently founded Spanish city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and in the Luribay Canyon, south east of the city of La Paz. However, Bolivian viticulture really flourished two decades later, when the high valleys of the eastern slopes of the Andes were conquered. In 1595, there were vineyards in full production in the valley of the Mizque River, whence they expanded south to Tarija and east to Vallegrande by 1600, and thereafter to the districts of Tomina, Pilaya, Paspalla, Cinti, and Samaipata. phylloxera and nematodes severely hampered Bolivian viticulture in much of the 20th century. Resistant rootstocks and good-quality vinifera cuttings were imported in the 1980s in an effort to restore vineyard health and the proportion of grafted vines is increasing. Bolivia produced only about 60,000 hl/1.6 million gal of wine in 2013. Of the 3,000 ha/7,400 acres under vine, 78% are in the Tarija region close to the Argentine border and 10% in Cinti slightly further north. The smaller vineyard area further north in the Valles Cruceños (8%), in the highlands south west of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, is expected to expand in the near future. The climate in Tarija is both continental and tropical, modified by elevation, so that the vines in the high Andean valleys are planted at 1,600 to 2,500 m/5,250 to 8,200 ft above sea level with very significant diurnal temperature variability and the risk of both frost and hail. Tarija would be classified as Region III or IV according to the winkler system, and annual rainfall averages 300 to 500 mm/19 in. Conditions in Cinti are similar to those of Tarija except that it is even hotter with an average temperature of 23 °C (73 °F) rather than 18.2 °C (66.5 °F). Rain can be concentrated in the early months of the year, encouraging fungal diseases. The traditional system of training vines up the indigenous pepper tree (Schinus molle) helped retard the development of such diseases, but espalier vine-training systems, with a vine density of 3,000 to 3,500 vines per ha, are more common. irrigation is widely practised. Kohlberg, Bolivia’s largest winery, was instrumental in introducing modern winemaking equipment from Argentina in the late 1960s. La Concepción, one of Tarija’s large producers, brought in virus-free clones from California in the late 1970s, and also buys criolla grapes from vines trained up trees at elevations up to 2,850 m/9,350 ft in Toropalca to the north. The quality gap between big and small producers is decreasing but the latter tend to sell most of their wine locally. Development funding from the Netherlands is helping Bolivian producers build an export programme and establish a generic organization to promote their wines. muscat of alexandria represents about 80% of all light-coloured vinifera grape varieties planted, and is widely used for distillation into the aromatic local brandy singani, which can be a fine counterpart to the pisco of Peru and Chile. Table wines are also produced from Muscat, although plantings of a wide range of other varieties associated throughout the world with good-quality red and white wine are increasing. Some creditable Cabernet and Cabernet blends are produced, as well as examples of varietal Malbec, Tannat, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Torrontés. The wine produced for domestic consumption by foot treading and vinification in clay jars is called patero.




South American country with a tropical climate and a relatively short history of viticulture. For long Colombia depended on imported wines and spirits from Spain and developed a taste for sweet fortified wines such as málaga. The initial output of the first vines planted here in the 1920s and 1930s was therefore directed towards aping this style of wine, as well as to the production of table grapes. When wine imports from non-South American countries were punitively taxed in the mid 1980s, however, consumers became accustomed to the dry table wines of Chile and Argentina and Colombia began to produce small quantities of dry wines from vinifera vines. The main grape-growing zone is in Boyacá department north east of the capital Bogotá. The country was thought to have 2,591 ha/6,400 acres of vines in 2013. Vines have to be defoliated by hand in order to provide a short period of dormancy (see tropical viticulture). Annual rainfall is 1,000 mm/39 in, although there are dry periods between December and March and between June and September. downy mildew is the principal hazard. isabella and Italia table grapes were grown in quantity but international varieties are now grown by the likes of Marqués de Puntalarga and Viñedo Ain Karim.




Bottles a considerable quantity of wine (including a scheurebe), but the extent of its vineyards is considerably more limited. tropical viticulture, enforced dormancy, and the considerable application of fungicides are essential here on the equator where it rains most days. The limited plantings of international varieties that there are here are either at elevations of over 2,500 m/8,000 ft near the capital Quito or on the coast in the hinterland of Guayaquil. In 2014 there were three wineries, all small.




In south america has more than 400 ha/1,000 acres of vines according to Goldstein, and one winery, Gerald Bühler of Vista Alegre, is a direct descendant of early-20th-century immigration from baden. tropical conditions make Paraguayan wine more of a curiosity than a fine drink.




The first country in south america to have encouraged systematic viticulture. Under orders from the famous conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the first Peruvian vineyard was planted in about 1547. Specific vine varieties were imported from Spain and by the 1560s Peru is thought to have had 40,000 ha/99,000 acres under vine, producing so much wine that it was exported to other South American countries and even, according to one document, as far as Spain. One of the several ways by which viticulture spread to Argentina was from Peru, with Nuñez de Prado, in 1550. The arrival of the phylloxera louse in 1888 heralded the start of a serious decline in Peruvian viticulture, which was halted as recently as 1960. Only in the 1970s was progress made on establishing suitable planting material and there are now nurseries at Ica, Chincha, Moquegua, and Tacna, as well as a national wine research centre Centro de Innovación Tecnológica Vitivinícola (CITEVID). According to oiv statistics, 23,000 ha/57,000 acres of Peru were planted with vines in 2011, yielding mainly table grapes but also 630,000 hl of wine, more than twice as much as at the turn of the century. Almost all vines have traditionally been grown in Ica province south of Lima, close to the port of Pisco (which gives its name to the national drink, a grape brandy). Winter temperatures are so high (between 6 and 16 °C) that full vine dormancy cannot be relied on. Summer temperatures are also high, between 16 and 34 °C (60–93 °F) in the hottest month, and rainfall is low. Wells have traditionally supplied irrigation water but levels are falling, as drip irrigation is being introduced. Yields may reach 12 tons per ha (5 tons/acre) but attempts are being made to upgrade techniques and wine quality. New projects are being developed in areas such as Palpa (100 km south of Ica) where Syrah is promising, and also in the Sacred Valley near Cusco (although rain at harvest can be a problem at elevation). Peru’s growing economy has been attracting investment from elsewhere in South America. Vine varieties planted for wine include Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Tannat, Petit Verdot, Albilla, Moscatel, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Torontel, and a little Chenin Blanc. Tacama is the best-known producer but is not the only one with ambition.




aromatic brandy made in Peru and Chile, mainly from Moscatel (muscat) grapes, rather like Bolivia’s singani.