Updated: Jun 25

According to historian Guillermo Toro-Lira, the first vineyard in South America was planted in Lima between 1539 and 1541 by Hernando de Montenegro, a Spanish captain. The first wine was made in 1551, marking the beginning of a new era of wine-making in the New World. By the end of the 16th century, Peruvian wine had significant global demand.


Because Peruvian wine was so highly sought after, we can assume it was of superior quality. But just how good was Peruvian wine in the past? The purpose of this blog is to find the answer to that question.


Centuries-old documents indicate that Peruvian wine was really good. At the end of the XVI century and beginning of the XVII century, Reginaldo de Lizárraga, a Spanish friar, was one of the first to document the quality of Peruvian wine on his travels throughout South America. He stated the wine throughout Peru was “very good” and that wine production was “very abundant”. Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, a Quechua nobleman, stated that Peruvian wine was the best in the kingdom.


These are just 2 examples of many that demonstrate the quality of Peruvian wine in the past. However, this investigation brings up another important question: What happened to the abundant wine production in Peru? In a study completed by the Wine Institute of California in 2015, Peru was #33 of 63 wine-producing countries, making only .25% of the world’s wine. One would think that if Peruvian wine was so good, its sales would have increased, not decreased, over time. Come to find out, the decline was caused by restrictions imposed by the Spanish royalty.


The timeline below summarizes the efforts of the Spanish royalty to hinder wine production in Peru:


1539 -1541- First vine (Listán Prieto) planted in Lima by Hernando de Montenegro

1551- First wine made in Lima, making Peru the first winemaking region in South America

1595- Felipe II prohibited planting vines in the colonies. However, people continued planting and making wine.

1595- Felipe II- started taxing vineyard owners, which diminished the amount of vines in Peru.


1614- Peruvian wine was competing so much with Spanish wine that King Philip III prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Panama.


1615- The sale of Peruvian wine was banned in Guatemala.


1641- King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Since the market for wine was cut off, vintners in Peru began to use their grapes to make pisco.


So now we know, Peruvian wine was not only delicious, but it imposed a threat to winemakers in Spain. In order to control wine production, Spanish royalty used many methods, including prohibiting planting more vines and banning imports to other colonies and to Spain. For that reason, wineries in Peru, including Apu, have the mission to revive the wine-making traditions and success of the past.



Sources:

Huertas Vallejos, Lorenzo. “Historia De La Producción De Vinos y Piscos En El Perú.” Revista Universum, vol. 2, no. 19, 2004, pp. 44–61.


“Lima, Cuna Del Primer Viñedo y Del Primer Vino De Suramérica.” www.efe.com, 28 Sept. 2018, www.efe.com/efe/america/gente/lima-cuna-del-primer-vinedo-y-vino-de-suramerica/20000014-3763502.


“Wine Statistics.” Wine Institute, www.wineinstitute.org/our-industry/statistics.

  • Apu Winery

Updated: Nov 26, 2019



Sangiovese is absent from Wine Folly’s “The 10 Most Popular Wines in the World” list. If it isn’t one of the world's most sought-after grape varieties, why did we choose to plant Sangiovese vines at our vineyards at 2,850 meters above sea level?


We recognized the similarities between our limestone soils and the Albarese (clay-limestone) soils found in the Chianti region. Sangiovese, the oldest appellation in Tuscany, comprise more than 60% of the vines there (Tuscany). Also, it has been noted that the best Sangiovese vineyards are located on hills at higher elevations (Schiessl). Taking these similarities into consideration, we decided to plant this Italian variety to see how they would adapt to the slopes and our terroir.


Luckily for us, our Sangiovese vines quickly adapted to the argilo-calcaire soils on our steep slopes, giving us a full-bodied wine with hints of black cherry, strawberry and butterscotch. It may not surprise you that it’s a perfect match with Italian food, but we recommend you try it with Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado and rocoto relleno. In a few months we will release our 2019 harvest. We look forward to seeing how our Sangiovese evolves as our plants age.




Works Consulted:


Puckette, Madeline. “The 10 Most Popular Wines in the World.” Wine Folly, 26 June 2019, winefolly.com/review/the-10-most-popular-wines-in-the-world/.


Schiessl, Courtney. “Our Complete Guide To Sangiovese From Tuscany: Sangiovese Guide.” VinePair, 18 Aug. 2017, vinepair.com/articles/complete-sangiovese-wine-guide/.


“Tuscany.” SevenFifty Daily, 6 Oct. 2017, daily.sevenfifty.com/regions/tuscany/.

  • Apu Winery

Updated: Oct 10, 2019



Apu Winery was officially accepted as a member of CERVIM, the Centre for Research, Environmental Sustainability and Advancement of Mountain Viticulture. CERVIM is an international organization that promotes and protects heroic viticulture, which is defined as:

Vineyard sites at altitudes over 500 meters (1600 feet)

Vines planted on slopes greater than 30%

Vines planted on terraces or embankments

Vines planted on small islands in difficult growing conditions


While vineyards only need to meet one of the requirements to be considered a heroic vineyard, we meet three. Our vineyards reach 3,300 meters/10,827 ft. (the highest in the world), the slopes of our steep hillside are more than 40% and we use a terracing system to plant in these difficult conditions.


What is more important for us about being a heroic vineyard is the economic impact of growing grapes in this area of Peru. For more information, please read the following post:


https://www.apuwinery.com/post/the-economic-impact-of-heroic-viticulture


Sources:


“A Centre for the Heroic Viticulture.” Centro Di Ricerca, Studi e Valorizzazione per La Viticoltura Di Montagna, 2019, www.cervim.org/en/heroic-viticulture.aspx.


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