Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Argentina, the most important wine-producing country in South America, and, since the 1990s, one of the most dynamic wine producers in the world. Producing almost 15 million hl/396 million gal in 2013, Argentina is one of the world’s six biggest wine producers. Almost a quarter of all Argentine wine is exported.

Of the country’s 224,064 ha/553,674 acres of vineyard in 2013 (an increase of more than 10% on the 2000 total area), 92% grew grapes for wine. The shift from quantity towards quality has been particularly marked this century, with the proportion of dark-skinned grapes growing from 40 to nearly 50%. Argentina’s famous pink-skinned varieties (mostly the criollas and cereza) fell from 31 to less than 25%. By 2012, 66% of vineyards were planted with high-quality wine grapes, the rest being those deemed low quality or table grape varieties. (In 1990, only 37.5% of vineyards were planted with high-quality wine grapes.) Considerable investment in new vineyard areas, improved winemaking technology, and continued research and innovation have all played a part in the transformation of Argentine wine from rustic ferment to world-class quality.