Uruguayan wine

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A Tannat wine from Uruguay.

Uruguay is the fourth-largest producer of wine in South America, with a production of 67,000 tonnes and 8,023 hectares (19,830 acres) of vineyards in 2012.[1] Its signature wines are that of red wines produced from Tannat grapes.[2][3]

History[edit]

Location of Uruguay

The modern wine industry in Uruguay dates back to 1870, and the wine industry was started by immigrants of mainly Basque and Italian origin.[4] In 1870, Tannat was introduced to the country by Don Pascual Harriague, a Basque.[2]

When the Mercosur free trade association started to take shape in the late 1980s, Uruguay took steps to increase the quality of its wines and stepped up its marketing efforts, due to fear of being out-competed by Chilean wines and Argentine wines, which had lower production costs.

Classification system[edit]

There are two levels of classification for Uruguay wines:[4]

Wine regions[edit]

Former Wine Regions of Uruguay

Uruguay's wine regions correspond to its administrative regions. While the country's other forms of agriculture are grouped into cardinal-intercardinal-oriented zones, which are then further divided by departments, there has never been an official grouping of wine regions into the larger zones – based on publications released by the Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca de Uruguay ("Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fish of Uruguay").

The majority of vineyards and wineries are located in the hills north of the capital Montevideo, particularly in the departments: Canelones, Montevideo, Colonia, and San José.[4][2][5] With the disappearance of vineyards in Flores, Rio Negro, and Treinta y Tres, roughly from 1989-2007, there are currently vineyards in 15 out of 19 departments.[6]


Uruguayan Vineyard Regions (2013 Statistics)[5]
Department Vineyard Surface area (ha)
Flag of Artigas department.svg Artigas
  115
Flag of Canelones department.svg Canelones
5, 046
Flag of Colonia department.svg Colonia
  563
Flag of Durazno Department.png Durazno
    89
Flag of Florida Department.png Florida
    49
Flag of Lavalleja Department.png Lavalleja
    10
Flag of Maldonado Department.png Maldonado
  252
Montevideo Department Coa.png Montevideo
1, 073
Flag of Paysandu department.svg Paysandú
  172
Flag of Rivera Department.png Rivera
    47
Flag of Rocha department.svg Rocha
      8
Flag of Salto Department.png Salto
    58
Flag of San José department.svg San José
  502
Flag of Soriano department.svg Soriano
    11
Tacuarembo Department Coa.png Tacuarembó
    28

Grape varieties[edit]

A Cabernet Sauvignon from Uruguay.

Among the vinifera grapes, Tannat is the most common (36%). Other common varieties are Merlot (10%), Chardonnay (7%), Cabernet Sauvignon (6%), Sauvignon blanc (6%), and Cabernet Franc (4%).[4] Muscat Hamburg is still a common variety for VC-classified rosé wines.[4]

Much of Uruguay's vineyards have previously been planted with American and hybrid grape varieties.

References[edit]

  1. ^ n.p. FAOSTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). Web. 28 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Lorch, Wink. "Uruguay - South America's 'other' wine country". Tom Cannavan's Wine-Pages. (n.d.). Web. 6 Mar. 2011.
  3. ^ Olivera,Yanina. "Uruguay is wine world's rising star". The Telegraph. (n.d.). 19 Mar. 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e Robinson, Jancis. The Oxford Companion to Wine: Third Edition. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.
  5. ^ a b Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca de Uruguay. (n.d.). 2013 Anuario Estadistico Agropecuario, 120-124. Retrieved from MGAP's Agricultural Statistics Home Page
  6. ^ Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca de Uruguay. (n.d.). "La vitivinicultura uruguaya luego de 100 años de existencia". Anuario 2008 OPYPA, 365-368. Retrieved from MGAP's 2008 Annual OPYPA Report