• 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.


  • Apu Winery

Updated: Aug 18, 2019


Our lush ecosystem lends itself to the growth of many native plants on the hillsides of our high-altitude vineyards. Some of that flora is immensely beneficial, assisting us with our viticulture process by repelling insects, protecting against diseases and predicting the future success of vines. However, many other bushes and shrubs that grow rampant here are detrimental to the vines. We will highlight 4 plants in this post, molle, chamana (hopbush), salvia tubiflora and aternanthera villosa, and discuss their influence on our vineyards.



Molle (Schinus molle)



Native to the Peruvian Andes, molle is an evergreen tree that produces bright pink berries similar to peppercorn. In traditional Andean medicine, the flowers, leaves and stems are used to treat arthritis, bronchitis, cough and chills (Bussmann).


Vineyard uses: Molle is a natural bug repellent, so we have the trees strategically placed between our rows of vines to control pests. Its short stature allows molle to act as a wind breaker, while creating mininal shade on our vines.




Chamanas (Dodonaea Viscosa)



This flowering evergreen shrub belongs to the soapberry family. It grows abundantly in the Andes between 1000-3800 meters. Although we battle with the chamana's deep roots that overcrowd our vineyards, the chamana has many practical uses, Andean people use the leaves to combat arthritis pain (Reynel).


In other parts of the world, chamana is called "hopbush" because its flowers can be used instead of hops to make beer (Richins Meyers). The flowers are seen below in this picture:





Vineyard uses: We use chamanas to separate lots, allowing us to contain fungi and other infections within each vineyard. But perhaps their most important function, chamanas are the best indicator of future success of grapevines. The nature of their root system is very similar to grape plants. They grow deep roots that penetrate the limestone soils, allowing them to maintain their green color and robustness during dry season. Their healthy appearance during dry season also tells us that we could successfully practice dry farming here.




Salvia tubiflora


Salvia tubiflora and alternanthera villosa are perhaps the most detrimental plants that grow in our vineyards because they attract fungi and other diseases such as phomopsis viticola. We don't use herbicides or machines to remove weeds, so keeping these plants at bay requires the work of many hands.




Seen above, salvia tubiflora can be boiled to create a topical to treat body pain in traditional medicine. We frequently remove this bush because diseases such as mildew and mold love sticking to its stems and flowers.




With its small white flowers, alternanthera villosa is known as "Hierba del Oso" in the Andes (The bear's herbs). In traditional Andean medicine, its leaves, flowers and stems are boiled to protect against evil. Fungi thrive on the stems of these flowery plants. The spores then migrate to our vines. Just like salvia tubiflora, we constantly remove alternanthera villosa to protect our grapevines from deadly diseases.






Sources:


Bussmann, Rainier W, and Douglas Sharon. Medicinal Plants of the Andes and the Amazon - The Magic and Medicinal Flora of Northern Peru. Ethnobotany Research & Applications, 2016.


Reynel, Carlos, et al. Guia De Identifación De Las Plantas Del Derecho De via Del Ducto Del Peru LNG. June 2012, perulng.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Guia_identificacion_plantas.pdf.


Richins-Myers, Vanessa. “Growing Hopbush in Your Garden.” The Spruce, 21 May 2019, www.thespruce.com/hopbush-growing-tips-4011881.


“Schinus Molle.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 May 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schinus_molle.

Updated: Aug 18, 2019

Vineyards in Eastern Washington State and Mendoza, Argentina are renowned for their diurnal temperature variation, AKA thermal amplitude. Thermal amplitude can be described as an extreme temperature range within a 24-hour period (hot days and cool nights). Here at our high-altitude vineyards in the Peruvian Andes, we have considerable temperature shifts. Due to our high elevation, days are hot and nights are cold. However, it never freezes here because our proximity to the Amazon Rainforest. To give you an idea of these shifts in temperature, here is a recent snapshot of our thermometer:


The low of the day was 3.5°C (38°F) but the high was 35°C (95°F), giving us a thermal amplitude of almost 32 degrees Celsius

So how does a drastic thermal amplitude affect the plants and influence our wine? The answer comes down to photosynthesis, respiration and the energy saving abilities of vines. During the day, plants undergo photosynthesis to produce energy and store carbohydrates (glucose). Plants also respire, which is when they convert nutrients obtained from soil into energy for their cellular activities.


At night, plants continue respiration, but can't photosynthesize without sunlight. This means the vines use less energy at night. Also, respiration slows with colder temperatures, so the lower the nightly temperature, the less energy the grapevine consumes. Plants can therefore use this leftover energy for their fruit, creating berries that are more rich, colorful and intense. Moreover, the heat during the day allows our grapes to ripen faster and develop more sugar, while also developing darker fruit flavors and thicker skins, giving us some lovely tannins in our wine. Finally, as we have mentioned in previous blog posts, cool nights are also crucial for generating acidity in the grapes.


It was quite surprising for us to find the optimum viticultural conditions at this location in the Peruvian Andes. Thanks to our proximity to the jungle and our high-altitude, an exceptional thermal amplitude works in our favor 365 days of the year, providing us a premium wine that is fruity, balanced, colorful and robust.


Source:


“Visiting Mendoza, Argentina Part 1: A Question of Altitude.” Wine Anorak, 2008, www.wineanorak.com/Argentina/argentina1_altitude.htm.

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