The cultivation of vines in Argentina
began with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Having tried local grape varieties, the wine growers soon turned to European varieties which were imported on a massive scale. The vineyard area has been growing in size virtually non-stop, and there are now 200,000 hectares devoted to wine production. Argentina became an important player in the global wine market in the late 90's: it is the biggest South American producer and the fifth biggest worldwide.
Argentina's geographic and climatic conditions are particularly conducive to the cultivation of the vine. Most of the Argentine vineyards grow at the foot of the Andes, at an altitude of between 800 and 1,700 metres, in areas of low-humidity. There is therefore very little pest damage (insects, fungi, etc.), which significantly reduces the use of pesticides and enhances the organic nature of the wines.
The most important wine regions are located in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, as well as the province of La Rioja. Salta, Jujuy, Catamarca, Río Negro and Neuquén are also famous terroirs in Argentina.
Argentina produces white wines from Chardonnay, Torrontés (a Spanish variety), Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Sémillon. The reds are mainly produced from the Malbec, Bonarda, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals.