Argentina: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Unlike North America, where explorers and early settlers found vitis labrusca growing in abundance, South America depended on the Spanish colonizers for imported European vinifera vines. The vine probably arrived in Argentina by four different routes. The first was directly from Spain in 1541 when vines are thought to have been cultivated, without great success, on the Atlantic coast around the river Plate. A year later, seeds of dried grapes were germinated as a result of an expedition from Peru to the current wine regions immediately east of the Andes. Another expedition from Peru in 1550 also imported vines to Argentina, while the fourth and most important vine importation came from Chile in 1556, just two years after the vine was introduced to Chile’s Central Valley. (See south america, history, for more details.)