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The History of Wine in Argentina

The cultivation of vine in America began with the arrival of the Spanish and much later the Portuguese. To satisfy the demand for wine in Castilla and Portugal, it was determined that the vine be cultivated in a location where the land and climate seemed favorable. The contracting house of Seville received the order to send a certain number of vines in each ship that left toward the Indies.

The Spaniards carried out the first cultivations of the island La Española; now know as the Dominican Republic, expanding toward the south with the campaigns of Hernán Cortes and Pizarro. Specific problems presented themselves in the management of reproduction of the offspring of the vine. The offspring (branches of the vine) were cut in Spain in the winter and sprouted during the long trips through hotter latitudes. Also, grape seeds were used that did not reproduce the characteristic variety and uniformity was lost. This was the origin of numerous native varieties called "criollas."

The first vineyard in Argentina

The first vineyard in Argentina was established in the province of Santiago of the Estuary and was introduced by the father Juan Cedrón in he 1556. The vines originated from Chile where they arrived from Peru by way of the Indies.

By the end of the 16th century, vines were spread out in Mendoza. According to the census of 1739, there were 120 vineyards in Mendoza. In 1887, 2,700 vineyards were distributed in the areas of Guaymallen, Las Heras and San Vicente (Godoy Cruz).

The French agronomist, Miguel Aimé Pouget planted the first Malbec vines.

In 1885 the President Julio A. Roca opened the railway system and opened trade with Buenos Aires.

Immigration between 1880 and 1910 enriched the local vineyards with the introduction of new techniques and strains of cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chenin, malbec, merlot, barbera, sangiovese, syrah, riesling.

In 1905 the National Center for Winegrowing was created.

In 1920, importing wine was a consequence of prohibition, in turn wines made with French or Italian grapes adopted names that corresponded to areas of production such as Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, etc., as a guide for the consumer.

Between 1960 and 1970, other countries of the New World started to produce more varieties.

In the 1960's, a high tax was imposed causing a vast production of low quality wines that continued until 1982 when the tax was normalized.

Aging of the wine

The process of aging can sometimes take two years in small barrels of wood (casks) and evolves from a small dose of sterile oxygen that goes into the wine through the pores of an oak tree. This micro oxygenation creates the color of the red wine, smoothing out its palate and obtaining a perfect harmony.

On the other hand, the oak tree contributes its aromas and flavors to the wine depending on the quality of the smoked wood. The burnt casks slightly contribute to the fragrances and fresh flavors. If larger barrels are available, a more prolonged breeding can be achieved from 3 to 30 years. In these cases the contribution of wood is less important to the final product.

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