Argentina now stands proudly in the top five of the world’s biggest wine producers. It has a high consumption within the country itself. Argentines are very fond of red wine to go with their high consumption of local red meat, and exports have risen over the years, making it one of the world’s most exciting New World wine regions. Initially, wine making was introduced to the country by the Spanish, but the industry has been influenced by immigrants such as Italians and Germans, whose love of viticulture has transformed the Argentine wine making methods and helped make it a successful Export business.
Argentine winemakers have traditionally been more interested in quantity than quality and the country consumes 90% of the wine it produces. Until the early 1990s, Argentina produced more wine than any other country outside Europe, however the majority of it was considered of low quality and consequently unexportable. The realisation that wine could be a valuable export for the country has consequently meant that there have been significant advances in quality. Argentine wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity. This popularity of Argentine wine has lead to an increase in tourism as foodies and wine tourists venture further and further afield to see where their favourite wines and food originates from. Wine tourism in Argentina has become big business. The past years have seen the birth of numerous tourist-friendly wineries with free tours and tastings. Some wineries even provide accommodation and include meals or traditional food evenings for tourists interested in staying in boutique hotels specifically oriented towards wine-tourism. The Mendoza Province is now one of Argentina's top tourist destinations and the one which has grown the most in the past years.
The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan (Cuyo region), and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza Province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine.
Because of the extensive history of wine making in the region, Argentina has seen the evolution of many local grape varieties, including Torrontes (white wine), Malbec (red wine) and Corbeau (also red). Malbec was originally called Auxerrois and was bought to Argentinia by the French. Malbec is now the favoured Argentine variety, and it has also been found to be the most successfully exported variety. In addition to local grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international favourites are becoming more widely planted, but some varieties are cultivated characteristically in certain areas.
For a great range of Argentinian wines, or just to browse wine in general, it is a good idea to consult an independent online wine retailer.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. You can browse wines in your chosen price range, and you can research before you buy. For more information on wine, go to - www.laithwaites.co.uk
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