• Apu Winery

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

You already know that we follow the schedule of the Northern Hemisphere at Apu Winery, but what does that mean for the grapes? In this blog, we will explore the growth cycle of the grapes at our high altitude winery and vineyards.

Because we are so close to the jungle, it never freezes in the Curahuasi Valley. That means our freshly cut vines aren't vulnerable to cold temperatures, allowing us to prune as early as December or January.

Bud break happens typically in March, when the daily temperature begins to exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when tiny buds swell and burst and the shoots begin to grow. Sometimes they can grow up to one inch per day.

Leafing begins in April. This phase is important because leaves provide food and air to help the vines stay healthy and grow. Through photosynthesis, leaves turn light energy into food. However, although leaves are important for the plant's growth, too many leaves can be detrimental. We remove some leaves after blooming but before veraison to:

  • Improve air circulation

  • Increase fungicide/insecticide spray penetration

  • Expose the fruit to more sunlight

  • Improve flavor compounds, color, and bud fertility

  • Decrease titratable acidity, pH, and potassium

  • Reduce herbaceous or vegetative aromas

In May, when temperatures stay between 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit, flowering begins. This is when small flower clusters appear on the tips of the young shoots, and the grapevine pollinates itself.

During fruit set, berries begin to form. This usually happens in June at Apu Winery. In this stage, the grape berries are small, green, and hard to the touch. The grapes have very little sugar but are high in organic acid.

Veraison occurs a month later in July. This is when the colors change on the berries due to cholorphyll in the berry skin being replaced by anthocyanins (red wine grapes) and carotenoids (white wine grapes). Red-wine grapes will turn from green to red or black and white-wine grapes will turn yellow or gold. The grapes also soften as they collect sugars and grow as they accumulate glucose and fructose.

Harvest occurs in August or September at Apu. It is very important to make precise decisions about when to harvest so the grapes have the right amount of sugar, acidity and tannins. Before harvesting, Fernando checks to make sure the Brix levels are between 24°-26° for red wine grapes and 22°-23° for our white wine grapes. He also checks the pH levels to make sure they are around 3.2-3.4. Determining when to harvest is an extremely important step in the production process.

So now you know what it means when we follow the schedule of the Northern Hemisphere! The grapes follow a very different, but strict schedule in to achieve an optimal growth cycle.

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

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.


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, apu winery, vino de altura, high altitude wine

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/.