South America

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

South America, the world’s second most important wine-producing continent, after Europe, with argentina and chile now rivalling each other as most productive, followed by brazil. Other, relatively minor, wine producers are, in descending order of importance, uruguay, peru, bolivia, and paraguay, although see also colombia, ecuador, and venezuela. The North American wine producer mexico produces much more wine than Uruguay, for example. Spain and, in some parts, Portugal were important influences in the 16th and 17th centuries, although more recently France, Italy, and the United States have helped to shape South America’s wine industries. Wine quality has improved extremely rapidly in those countries—Chile, Argentina, and to a lesser extent Brazil and Uruguay—which have (relatively recently) turned their attention to exporting.