The wine industry in Peru has been around for much longer than most people believe. Wine grapes were first introduced in Peru by the Spanish Conqueror Marquis Francisco de Caravantes, who visited there during the 16th century. Since then, Peruvians were working on perfecting their wine growing techniques.
During the colonial times the in 17th century, due to the successful competition of the local producers, complaints of the Spanish wine producers exporting their wines to South America arose, and the king of Spain introduced a hefty tax on the domestic wine production to make it impossible to continue their production in Peru.
Today, wine producers in the provinces of Lima and Ica recovered, and are producing some very good wines. Peruvians know it well, and now the rest of the world is also finding out.
Until recently, Peruvian wine exports were very limited. This is because the production of Peruvian wine has traditionally been quite low compared to other more commercially developed South American countries, such as Chile and Argentina. The largest exporter of Peruvian wine is Bodega Tacama and produces outstanding red and white wines, in addition to Champagne Brut. It is also possible to find abroad wines produced by Ocucaje, Tabernero and Vista Alegre.
However, Peruvian micro wine production has played in their favor, allowing them time to experiment with different mixtures and winemaking techniques. In contrast, Peruvian wine exports have reached the market as a newcomer, apparently with surprisingly high quality. In fact, the wine market can be forgiven for not knowing that Peru has a quality wine industry.
Peruvian wine culture
The city of Ica is located within the province of Ica, which is the center of Peruvian wine culture. This is the area where wine grapes were introduced, and many smaller wineries still make use of ancient techniques to produce wines.
The province of Ica is known as an area of sand, sea, and oasis. Despite its warm and dry climate, Ica is a perfect place to grow grapes for wine. The fields are entirely irrigated with water from the Andes, and virtually any crop in the world can grow here. The best wineries in Peru are found here and are known as “Bodegas,” which means “wineries.” All Peruvian wineries have the prefix of this word; Bodega Tacama, Ocucaje, Tabernero, Vista Alegre, etc.
In a way, Ica (the province) is not only the cradle of wine culture in Peru but of Peru as a whole. Saints and healers are part of everyday life, and here the best Pisco brandy is also distilled.
Pisco has reached a degree of worldwide fame as the best existing in the market and is considered the national drink of Peru. It would be challenging to find a Peruvian winery that does not make Pisco with its wines.
Peruvian wineries have a long way to go before they can compete with other more developed wine countries such as France, America, Italy, and Australia. Even its neighbors, Chile and Argentina, are much more advanced than Peru in terms of commercial wine production. But, that is also one of the things that make Peruvian wines stand out more. They are different.
The diversity of wines from around the world is probably the only thing that makes wine the best drink in the world. So, if you are looking to try something different, then it is possible that a wine from Peru is exactly what you are looking for.
Peruvian wineries producing quality wines
There are five wineries producing quality wines in Peru that are worth mentioning, and all are located in the province of Ica.
The Tacama vineyard was founded in the 1540s, becoming the oldest South American vineyard in the New World. Located in the Ica valley, the Tacama vineyard is situated in a fertile oasis surrounded by desert, 300 kilometers from the city of Lima, capital of Peru. The climate and the land of Ica are ideal for the cultivation of wines with real character.
Over the years, Tacama has selected and introduced the best grape varieties for its vineyards and has perfected its cultivation and production techniques, using French technology, as well as extensive consultants with French experts to produce exceptional Peruvian wines. Tacama Tinto and Blanco wines have won several awards in international exhibitions with highly respected experts who classify the wines as world class quality.
The Tacama winery is located about 10 kilometers north of the city of Ica and is one of the best known and respected wine exporters in Peru. Their Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc wines are a true testament to what they can do with wine grapes. If you have ever tried a wine from Peru, there is a good chance that it will come from Tacama.
Viña Ocucaje was founded in 1898 in an excellent wine-growing area that dates back to the 16th century. Located in the privileged agricultural region surrounded by gentle hills south of Lima. Ocucaje takes its name from the word Aymara “Okukaje,” which means “Between Hills.” In the 1930s, specially selected imported vines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Rhine Valley were introduced at the Ocucaje estate and the Viña Ocucaje S.A. company was formed. Today they continue using traditional methods, producing red and white wines, as well as Pisco of excellent quality.
About 40 kilometers south of the city of Ica is the Ocucaje winery. Ocucaje is possibly as well known as Tacama. They are known mainly for the care and attention they put into the production of some of the best Piscos of the year after. But, they have not avoided putting the same effort into the production of high quality wines as well.
Vista Alegre combines tradition and knowledge together with antiquity and modernization to produce impressive Peruvian wines and pisco.
One of the most extensive vineyards in the country has maintained a long tradition of careful selection, dedication, and diligence in the care of its vineyards since 1857. Today this tradition is maintained and reinforced with the implementation of innovations and expansions that currently make Vista Alegre one of the oldest, but at the same time, one of the most modern vineyards in Peru.
The Vista Alegre winery is located about 3 kilometers north of the city of Ica and produces wine and Pisco using some of the most modern machines available. Vista Alegre is probably the most technically advanced of the wineries located near Ica, but they have also managed to keep some traces of Peru’s rich wine history. A Vista Alegre wine will surely be good.
Bodega Tabernero was founded in 1897, with its famous vineyard located in the Chincha Valley south of Lima, where the combination of fertile soil and an ideal climate are essential for the cultivation of a wide variety of grapes. The Tabernero vineyard produces excellent varieties of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Moscatel, Quebranta (for Pisco) and Burgundy. Today, to produce wines under the Vittoria brand, Tabernero continues to use the best technologies in the world to produce excellent Peruvian wines for both the national and international markets.
Viñas Queirolo is the newest winery producing quality wines. It has its own vineyards and a processing plant in Pachacamac, south of Lima, and another on the outskirts of the City of Ica, together with a comfortable hotel where you can enjoy having the opportunity to live a few days surrounded by vineyards, in contact with nature, learn and enjoy Peru wines and piscos.
Viñas Queirolo Hotel. Located in the Ica Valley, at the foot of the first buttresses of the Cordillera de los Andes, surrounded by more than 500 hectares of vineyards where the vines with which Intipalka quality wines from the Santiago Queirolo Winery are made, are grown the Viñas Queirolo Hotel.
The style of the hotel dates from the time of the republic, high ceilings, windows with wooden shutters, fans and balusters of the time are part of the attractions of the hotel that is complemented by 89 spacious, very well equipped and comfortable rooms.