U n it e d S t at e s S o m m e l ie r as s o c iat io n
wine s c h ool
L e c or d on b l e u
C o l l e g e o f c u l in ar y ar t s , m iam i
A Short History of Wine and Overview
To make wine, grapes, which belong to the genus Vitis are used. One of the species, V. vinifera (often
erroneously called the European grape), is predominantly used. Beverages produced from V. labrusca ,
the native American grape, and from other grape species are also considered wines. When other fruits
are fermented to produce a kind of wine, the name of the fruit is included, as in the terms peach wine and
History and spread of viticulture
Vitis vinifera was being cultivated in the Middle East by 4000 BC, and
probably earlier. Egyptian records dating from 2500 BC refer to the use of
grapes for wine making, and numerous Old Testament references to wine
indicate the early origin and significance of the industry in the Middle East.
The Greeks carried out an active wine trade and planted grapes in their
colonies from the Black Sea to Spain. The Romans carried the practice of
grape growing into the valleys of the Rhine and Mosel (which became the
great regions of Germany and Alsace), the Danube (in modern-day Romania,
Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria), and the Rhône, Saône, Garonne, Loire,
and Marne (which define the great French regions of Rhône, Burgundy,
Bordeaux, Loire, and Champagne, respectively). The role of wine in the
Christian mass helped maintain the industry after the fall of the Roman
Empire, and monastic orders preserved and developed many of the highly
regarded wine-producing areas in Europe.
Following the voyages of Columbus, grape culture and wine
making were transported from the Old World to the New.
Spanish missionaries took viticulture to Chile and Argentina
in the mid-16th century and to lower California in the 18th
century. With the flood of European immigration in the 19th
and early 20th centuries, modern industries, based on
imported V. vinifera grapes, were developed. The prime
wine-growing regions of South America were established in
the foothills of the Andes Mountains. In California, the center
of viticulture shifted from the southern missions to the
Central Valley and the northern counties of Sonoma, Napa,
and Mendocino. British settlers planted European vines in
Australia and New Zealand in the early 19th century, and
Dutch settlers took grapes from the Rhine region to South
Africa as early as 1654.
The introduction of the eastern American root louse,
phylloxera, seriously threatened wine industries
around the world between 1870 and 1900,
destroying vineyards almost everywhere that V.
vinifera was planted, especially in Europe and parts
of Australia and California. To combat this parasite,
V. vinifera scions (detached shoots including buds)
were grafted to species native to the eastern United
States, which proved almost completely resistant to
phylloxera. After the vineyards recovered, European
governments protected the reputations of the great
regions by enacting laws that allotted regional
names and quality rankings only to those wines
produced in specific regions under strictly regulated
procedures. In recent times, present-day wine-
producing countries have passed similar regulations.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE MAJOR WINE PRODUCING COUNTRIES
Map of the ancient Near East and Egypt, showing the distribution of the modern wild grapevine in purple
shading. Grape remains (primarily pips) recovered from Neolithic and Late Uruk sites are indicated by the
grape cluster symbol. The occurrence of wine jars, which have been chemically identified as such, are
indicated by the jar symbol.
The grape vine grows best where the climate is temperate. Two broad belts, one north and one south of the equator, have such a
climate. The belt located north of the equator extends from 50 degrees N. to 30 degrees N. The one located south of the equator is
narrower, extending from 30 degrees S. to 40 degrees S.
The best-known wine countries located above (or north) of the equator are France, Germany, Italy, the U.S., and Algeria. The
lesser-known but also good producers are Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece as well as Russia,
Czechoslovakia, China and Japan. Below the equator are the southern wine making areas that include Africa (Algeria, Morocco,
South Africa); Australia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
More than three fourths of the world’s wine is made in Europe.
Before we go into our Viticulture and Vinification modules we would like to provide you with a short
overview on the major wine growing regions of the world. This brief introduction to these countries will
assist you in understanding the evolving styles of growing grapes that are both of European origin and
also of local indigenous cultivation.
Whether old or new world, all grape growing countries fall between 30-50 degrees longitude or latitude.
That is the climate that supports the cultivation and production of the best wines.
Major New World Wine Growing Countries
To say that France is the standard which all other
wine measures countries would not be an
overstatement. France is a leader because of ideal
geography and climate for growing good grapes,
rich enological history dating back to Roman times,
passion for food and sheer diversity of wine-
producing regions and wine styles.
The major regions of France:
Champagne was a region long before it was a
sparkling wine. The region lies at a crossroads of
northern Europe – the river valleys leading south to
the Mediterranean and north to Paris, the English
Channel and Western Germany – and thus has
been the setting of many dramatic events in the
history of the French nation. As a convenient access
point, it has been for hundreds of years, the chosen
path of many invaders including Attila the Hun. The
Hundred Years' War and the Thirty Years' War
brought repeated destruction to the region as armies
marched back and forth across its landscape. By the 17th century, the city of Reims has seen destruction
seven times and Epernay no less than twenty-five times.
Before the mid-1600's there was no Champagne as we think of it. For centuries the wines were still
wines and were held in high regard by the nobility of Europe. But the cool climate of the region and its
effect on the wine making process was to play an important part in changing all of that.
We owe a lot to Dom Pérignon as any inventor owes those who have come before him. He is not
however the inventor of champagne as is often thought. Pierre Pérignon was a Benedictine monk who,
in 1688, was appointed treasurer at the Abby of Hautvillers. The Abby is located near Epernay. Included
in Dom Pérignon's duties was the management of the cellars and wine making. The bubbles in the wine
are a natural process arising from Champagne's cold climate and short growing season. Of necessity, the
grapes are picked late in the year. This doesn't leave enough time for the yeasts present on the grape
skins to convert the sugar in the pressed grape juice into alcohol before the cold winter temperatures put
a temporary stop to the fermentation process. With the coming of Spring's warmer temperatures, the
fermentation is again underway, but this time in the bottle. The refermentation creates carbon dioxide,
which now becomes trapped in the bottle, thereby creating the sparkle.
For Dom Pérignon and his contemporaries, sparkling wine was not the desired end product. It was a sign
of poor wine making. He spent a great deal of time trying to prevent the bubbles, the unstableness of this
"mad wine," and the creation of a decidedly white wine the court would prefer to red burgundy. He was
not able to prevent the bubbles, but he did develop the art of blending. He not only blended different
grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay), but the juice from the same grape grown in different
vineyards. Not only did he develop a method to press the black grapes to yield a white juice, he improved
clarification techniques to produce a brighter wine than any that had been produced before. To help
prevent the exploding bottle problem, he began to use the stronger bottles developed by the English and
closing them with Spanish cork instead of the wood and oil-soaked hemp stoppers then in use. Dom
Pérignon died in 1715, but in his 47 years as the cellar master at the Abby of Hautvillers, he laid down the
basic principles still used in making Champagne today.
Alsace is located in the northeastern part of France, just across the Rhine River from Germany. The
region is about 110 kilometers long, one to five kilometers wide. Alsace lies on the western flank of the
Vosges Mountains, the climate is dry and temperate with long days; soils are varied, including chalk/marl,
granite and limestone. There are two Alsace appellations, Alsace AC and Alsace Grand Cru AC.
Loire Valley has a variety of soils and climate, from continental in the east to maritime in the west, and
can produce any number of wines. The region is roughly divided into four areas: Pays Nantais, at the
mouth of the river and home of Muscadet, Anjou, Touraine and the Central Vineyards. No special
classification exists, even the smallest areas with a distinctive style have their own appellations.
Bordeaux is one of France's largest and most diverse wine regions. A great variety of wines are made
here: red, dry white and sweet white. The red wines of Bordeaux, all made of a blend from three and
sometimes five permitted red grape varieties, are arguably the world's most famous reds. Sauternes, the
archetypal sweet white wine is made from a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, as are
other dry white wines.
Burgundy has five distinct regions: from north to south they are: Chablis, Côte d'Or (divided into the Côte
de Nuits in the south and Côtes de Beaune in the north), Côte Chalonaise, Maconnais and Beaujolais.
The Côte d'Or has 28 different wine-producing villages or communes, surrounded by a total of 20,000
acres of vineyards. Burgundy is known for many expressions of two great varietals: Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay. In addition, there is fruity, lively Gamay from Beaujolais and lemony-tart Aligoté, planted in
lesser vineyard sites. The term Domaine is commonly used in Burgundy to refer to a vine-growing and
Rhône Valley wines have been made in the Rhône Valley since the time of the Romans, who left behind
the ruins of aqueducts and amphitheaters. The Rhône Valley stretches for 140 miles from Lyon to
Avignon and is divided into two regions: north and south. Southern France encompasses an enormous
region, from the Atlantic coast along the Mediterranean to the borders of Italy and Switzerland. Grape
vines first arrived in France at the Greek city, Massalia (later Marseilles) in 600 BC. From there, viticulture
spread north into the Rhône Valley and east until it reached Bordeaux in the 3rd century BC. Vineyard
sites run the gamut, from high in the Pyrénées Orientales and hard against the Spanish border, to the hot,
dry plains of Languedoc-Roussillon, to the fields of Provence, to the Alps of the Savoie.
Germany has 13 separate wine growing
regions, each of which produces its own
style of wine, often from the same varietals.
Generally, the lightest and most elegant
German wines are produced in the Mosel-
Saar-Ruwer and Ahr regions. Slightly fuller
wines are made in the Mittelrhein, Nahe,
Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Saale-Unstrut,
while the fullest German wines tend to come
from the regions of Pfalz, Hessische
Bergstrasse, Sachsen, Wurttemberg and
Wine production is thought to have begun
with the ancient Romans who conquered the
region about 100 B.C. and started cultivating
grapes soon thereafter. In the Middle Ages
the monastic orders established many of
Germany's finest vineyards and, with their
meticulous care of the vines and wines, set
the standard for the high quality of German
viticulture. Germany produces the loveliest,
lightest, most delicate white wines in the
world. Low in alcohol and exquisitely
balanced, they are wines of charm and
Germany has nearly 100,000 hectares
(240,000 acres) of vineyards. About 87 % of
this area is planted in white grape varieties;
only 13 % in red grape varieties. By
contrast, the worldwide ratio of white to red wine cultivation is almost exactly the opposite. If at least 85 %
of a wine is made from one kind of grape, the name of the variety may be indicated on the label. This tells
you what to expect with regard to the color, taste, aroma and acidity of the wine.
Because Germany has such a cool climate, grape ripeness at harvest is a crucial quality factor. (Less ripe
grapes yield lighter wines of modest character; fully ripe or overripe grapes produce fuller, more finely
flavored wines.) As a result, the German government has established separate categories for German
wines according to grape ripeness.
These same categories are identified on the label, providing a useful indication of wine style in purchasing
German wines and pairing them with food.
• Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebeite (Q.b.A.) - Literally, quality wines from specific
regions. The largest category of German wines. Because these are chaptalized (legally regulated
amounts of sugar are added to the grape must to add body), Q.b.A.s are often fuller than Kabinett
wines from the same vineyards.
• Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (Q.m.P.) - Quality wines with special attributes. These are among
Germany's greatest wines, listed here in ascending order of ripeness. Kabinet and Spatlese are
the most commonly produced.
o Kabinett - Light, elegant wines made from fully ripened grapes.
o Spatlese - Wines made from grapes picked at least one week after normal ripeness.
These are fuller, more flavorful wines.
o Auslese - Auslese means "selected picking;" these are wines made from selected ripe
and overripe grape clusters. The wines are full and ripe to the taste, and often have
o Beerenauslese (BA) - Wines produced from selectively harvested, overripe grapes. The
consequent wines are concentrated in character and flavor; sweet but well balanced.
o Eiswein - Wine produced from naturally frozen grapes. The grapes are harvested and
pressed while frozen, resulting in extremely fresh, crisp, yet richly flavored sweet wines
with remarkable briskness and racy acidity.
o Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) - Wines produced from hand-selected, dried, over ripened
grapes, which look virtually like raisins. TBAs are extremely rich and intense in flavor,
sweet and honey-like to the taste.
Italy is a world wine leader, producing and
consuming more wine than any other country in the
world. There are 1.2 million Italian growers, and per
capita consumption is 26 gallons per person. The
scope of Italian wines is staggering, both from the
sheer quantity of grape types and different styles of
wines. Interest in the world of Italian wines is
growing, and although it can tend to be confusing,
the rewards are there for those who persevere!
Consumers looking for new wine adventures and for
wines that pair well with food are turning to traditional
Italian varieties such as Sangiovese, Barbera and
Like the French, the Italians have a system of wine
laws to regulate the industry. These modern wine
laws were established in 1963 to give structure to an
unregulated wine industry. The system does have
some quirks, but can be a useful point of reference
for those attempting to understand the immense
Italian wine industry. Looking at Italian wine on a
region-by-region basis gives you an idea of why so
much effort has been put into devising some system
of organization and classification. It's a huge and
complex picture, to say the least. Italy produces wine
in every part of the country from north near the
borders of France, Austria and Slovenia to the tip of
the boot and Sicily.
Much of the best wines come from the northern regions: Piedmont (northwest), Tuscany (North-Central)
and three regions (Tre Venezie) in the northeast. Basic laws regulate yields, grapes used for specific
wines, area restrictions for growing, and maximum and minimum alcohol strengths these categories are.
• Vino da Tavola, or table wine, typically, but with some exceptions, everyday wines-simple and
• DOC wines (initials stand for Denominazione di Origine Controllata ), a translation of the French
Appellation d'Origine Côntrolée. There are currently 309 appellations with DOC recognition
zones, and approximately 2000 Italian wines bearing this classification (source Italian Trade
Commission). However, only a small percentage of these have any commercial viability. Twenty
DOCs account for close to 45% of the country's total DOC production.
• DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) wines, first classified in 1980 with the
intention of adding a quality classification to the top of the wine pyramid. The 24 DOCG wines
indicate the highest quality (wines not
only "controlled" but "guaranteed").
DOCG wines include such famous
names as Barola, Barbaresco, Chianti,
Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile
di Montepulciano. Additional wines are
petitioning for DOCG classification, so
the existing group of 24 will continue to
grow. In 1992, among many changes
made, the Goria laws were passed to
bring greater flexibility to production,
and add a broad new category.
• IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica),
became a new classification under law,
replacing vini tipici as the base of the
Despite its small area, Portugal rates sixth in
the world as a wine-producing country, wine
production has been encouraged since the
early kings, and records show exports dating
back to 1367. Today, this industry employs
25% of the working agricultural population.
While the country is famous for its namesake,
Oporto and Maderia, the fresh, light white
wines and full-bodied reds should not be
overlooked, especially good for serving with
oily food. The best known regions are Dão -
making big full bodied red wines; Bairrada -
tannin highly acidic red wine; Madeira - see
below; Port and Douro - ports;Setubal - sweet,
fortified wine production and Vinho Verde - in
the northwestern part of the country, Vinho
Verde refers to the youth of the wine, not the
color it can be red or white.
After the adhesion of Portugal to the EU, the
following designations were applied to wine in
order to control the "Appellation".
EU - Regulations
CVR - Regional Wines – Wines that are not
DOC or IPR and are produced in a specific
region from at least 85% of locally grown
DOC - Controlled Appellation Wines
produced in a Geographical Limited Region
IPR - Regulated Origin of Wines with
specific characteristics during a minimum of five years
VEQPRD - Sparkling Wine produced in a Denominated Region
VQPRD - Liquor Wine produced in a Denominated Region
Table Wines - All wines that do not qualify under the above classifications
Wine has been made in Spain for centuries and the size
of the Spanish wine acreage is huge. There are a
number of regions including, the Navarra - north of
Rioja, where Garnacha Tinta (Grenache), Cabernet and
Merlot are the red grapes grown; Rioja - the home of
soft, blended red wine aged in American oak and young
fresh white wines; Jerez - sherries; Penedès - the
leading wine region in Catalonia. Spanish sparkling
wines when made in the champagne method are called
Cava, approximately 95% of them come from around
Barcelona with Frexinet and Cordoníu being the
largest. The world's most widely planted white grape,
Airén, is grown in Spain. The wide diversity of soils and
climates in Spain has long produced an extensive range
of wines, each showing pronounced characteristics.
The careful cultivation of vineyards, united with the
painstaking and increasingly sophisticated techniques
used by Spanish vintners in making their wines, has
won international recognition. Since Spain joined the
European Union, Spanish wines have been adapted to
European standards. This means that they have been
classified into two major groups: Quality Wines
Produced in Specified Regions (QWPSR) and Table
Wine (TW). More recently, Spain passed law 24/2003 of
July 10—the Vineyard and Wine Act. This legislation,
together with the subsequent regulations governing
Wines of the Country completed in September of the
same year, describes the different classes of wines
according to the degree of monitoring and exigency
applied to the production process. These documents,
in turn, have allowed clearer definition of origin and
quality protection system to be defined.
The Vineyard and Wine Act also establishes minimum standards for crianza—the process of aging wine
in wood and in the bottle—which unify the requirements to be met according to the indications relative to
Classification of wines by ageing characteristics
Country Wines and QWPSR can use the following common indications regarding ageing
Vino noble (quality wine)
This expression can be used to describe wines subjected to a minimum ageing period totaling 18 months,
either in oak containers having a maximum capacity of 600 liters, or in the bottle.
Vino añejo (aged wine)
Aged wines are those subjected to a minimum ageing period totaling 24 months in oak containers with
minimum capacity of 600 liters, or in the bottle.
Vino viejo (old wine)
Old wines are those that are subjected to a minimum ageing period of 36 months when the ageing
process is of a strong oxidative nature due to the action of light, oxygen, hot or a conjunction of all.
In addition to the indications detailed above, still QWPSR may use the following:
Vino de crianza (crianza wine)
This indication applies to red wines aged for a minimum of 24 months, of which 6 months are spent in oak
containers with a capacity of 330 liters maximum; and to white and rosé wines aged for at least 18
Reserva is applied to red wines that are aged for a minimum of 36 months, to include at least 12 months
in oak and the rest in the bottle; and to white and rosé wines aged for 18 months, to include 6 months on
This distinction is given to red wines aged for a minimum of 60 months, to include at least 18 months in
oak, and to white and rosé wines aged for 48 months, to include 6 months on wood.
Quality sparkling wines may use the “Premium” and “Reserva” indications; the “Gran Reserva”
indication may be used by those sparkling wines that have been given the Cava designation and which
have undergone ageing for at least 30 months from tirage to disgorging.
New World - Northern Hemisphere
United States of America
The United States now has wineries in 50 of the 50 states in the
union. The major regions within the USA are the Pacific
Northwest, California and New York State.
American Viticultural Areas
When a US winery wants to tell you the geographic pedigree of
its wine, it uses a tag on its label called an Appellation of Origin.
This tag must meet federal and state legal requirements. A lot of
people believe that the term appellation of origin is synonymous
with viticultural area, but that's not the case.
Viticultural areas are to appellations like grapes are to fruit.
Viticultural areas are one kind of appellation. Not all appellations
are viticultural areas. An appellation of origin can be the name of
a country, the name of a state or states, the name of a county or
counties within a state. Viticultural areas are a hybrid appellation.
In size, they range from extremely small to extremely large (larger
than a few states). In terms of plantings, a viticultural area may be
filled with vineyards or could be almost sparse. In terms of quality,
there is no guarantee that a wine labeled with a viticultural area is
any better or worse than wines that don't bear such information.
California in the United States, continues to produce wines across the
board from good basic quality bulk wine to very exclusive varieties.
Here are the major regions in California.
o Napa Valley is perhaps the best-known wine region in the
whole of America. The valley itself runs from the city of Napa
northwest to Calistoga.
o Sonoma County is a very important wine-growing region,
north of San Francisco, with many different climates, this
able to successfully produce a wide array of wines. While
many varieties of grape are successful here, Chardonnay,
Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel and Cabernet are perhaps the best.
o Sonoma Valley, situated between the Mayacamas Mountains to the
east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west, is home to some of the
best-known wineries in California.
o Alexander Valley is situated along the Russian River in
northeastern Sonoma County, California, approximately 80 miles
(130km) north of San Francisco. Twenty miles in length, Alexander
Valley varies in width from 2 - 7 miles and produces some excellent
wines of high quality.
o Lake County, situated to the north of Napa Valley and east of
Mendocino, this region dates back to the late 1880s. Sauvignon
Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are widely planted throughout the
region. The Guenoc Valley is part of Lake County, as are Clear Lake
o Mendocino is the most northerly wine-producing region in California.
A number of premium varietal wines are grown including
Chardonnay and Cabernet. Fetzer winery has spearheaded organic
farming in this region, and McDowell the production of Rhone style
o Anderson Valley is known for good sparkling wines and cool climate
varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Central Coast area includes the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Benito and
Santa Clara Valley to the north, Carmel, Monterey and Paso Robles in the
middle and San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara - Santa Maria and Santa Ynez-
to the south. The influence of the ocean is significant, producing fogs and cooling winds which
encourages quality wines to be produced from Chardonnay, Cabernet and Pinot Noir.
Argentina is the world's fifth largest wine producing nation, with
most of it consumed within the country. The majority of the
vineyards are situated in the foothills of the Andes mountains
where they have access to water for irrigation from the melting
While wine production has been extremely important, dating back
to the 16th century, the wines have not yet achieved the high
quality of Chile's, although great improvements are made on an
annual basis and now some producers are definitely getting there.
Argentina has for years concentrated on quantity rather than
quality wines, but in the beginning of the 1990's the Argentines
have sought to make higher quality wines such as Chardonnay
and Cabernet Sauvignon to meet the growing world wide demand
for quality wines.
Now, Argentinean wineries have embarked on a program of
modernization of their winemaking infrastructure as the country
continues to look more and more to the export market. The country
which was called the "sleeping giant" of the global wine industry by
Wine Spectator magazine (Sept. 1996) is now poised to have its
excellent wines available on an international scale. Don't be
surprised to see a significant increase in the amount of excellent quality Argentine wines available in the
Although many vitis vinifera grape varieties are planted that were brought from Europe, it’s the MALBEC
variety that has drawn much international attention for its distinctive taste and high quality produced in
mostly the MENDOZA region.
Wine making in Chile dates back to the settlement of the Spanish.
Recent developments in vineyard management and wine making
have produced excellent results in this country. The Cabernet
Sauvignons and Merlots that are produced are excellent quality
considering their inexpensive price, and some of the estate wines
can compete on a worldwide basis. With full upfront fruit the style of
wines produced here are exactly what we are looking for from 'New'
world producers and as the country continues to invest in its wines
they can only improve.
Chile has a perfect climate for wine making but for years it hasn't had
the political climate to match. In has increased its exports to many
countries around the world. Notably is the United Kingdom where it
is the fastest growing section of the wine market. In America its
popularity has soared because of rising prices to domestic and
European wines. Consumers can easily identify with Chilean wine
labels, which designate the grape varietal, rather that the geographic
origin of the wines. Since this is how American wineries and other
new world countries market their wines, consumers can easily
identify the style of wine and match it to their own tastes.
As more and more consumers are looking for value in their wines Chile has gained many new consumers
buying their wines which are generally less expensive than there American and European counterparts.
The first grape vines arrived in Uruguay from Spain in the middle
of the 17th century. Documentary evidence of their existence in
Uruguay exists from 1776. The existence of a commercial wine
industry dates back to 1870, by which time the Tannat was
already established as the country’s most important grape. After
Surinam, Uruguay is the second smallest country in South
America. The country lies between the 30th and the 35th
southern Parallel. Uruguay’s land area is a little smaller than the
United Kingdom, and is half the size of Germany.
Uruguay’s vineyards amount to around 10.000ha. They are
cultivated by ca. 270 wine producers. The majority of the wine
producing Bodegas are owned and managed as family
businesses and have been for several generations, since the
original immigrants from Spain and Italy established themselves
in Uruguay. Uruguay’s vineyards amount to about a fifth of the
area of Austria’s or the same as Germany’s Baden-Wuertenberg
region. The production volumes compare similarly. The total
wine production amounts to approx. 90.000 to 100.000 hL. Of
the wine producers, 86% have up to 5ha. Of vineyard; only 0.3% have in excess of 50ha.The most
significant wine producing region is to the north of Montevideo in the Department of Canelones. 60% of
the production is concentrated.
The deliberate and consistent strategy of the Uruguayan wine producers is to concentrate on the
production of high quality wines in relatively small vineyards. This strategy has served the industry very
well in recent years, and has resulted in increasing recognition internationally. The excesses in production
volume and resulting „wine lakes“ common in Argentina and Chile have not been seen in Uruguay.
The climate in Uruguay is sub-tropical. The moderation of the climate that results from the sea breezes
ensures that despite the moist climate, the vines remain well ventilated. The average temperature in the
wine producing regions is ca. 18 degrees centigrade. The sun shines on more than 220 days of the year.
The climate in Uruguay‘s key wine producing regions is often compared with that of Bordeaux (France),
with a minor detail being that the Rio de la Plata replaces the Gironde!
The soil conditions of the wine producing areas is ideal, with a predominance of well-drained sandy clay
The quality controls in place in Uruguay are probably the most stringent in the whole of South America.
This is a real positive factor for consumers. The controlling bodies are the Instituto Nacional de
Vitivinicultura (INAVI), the official privately operated body of the wine industry in Uruguay, set up in 1987
and financed by the country’s viticulturalists – bodegueros. The 9 member supervisory body of INAVI is
made up of 6 representatives of the wine industry and 3 representatives of state bodies. The main
responsibilities of INAVI are to establish guidelines, undertake quality control, the provision of technical
support and the organizational development of the industry. Exports do not leave the country without
having been tested by the Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay (LATU), where chemical and sensory
tests are applied to the wines. The industry in Uruguay also differentiates between ‚Table wines‘, vinos de
mesa, and quality wines, or vinos finos. The latter are identified by their „VCP“ certification (vinos de
calidad preferente). Quality wines must have a minimum alcohol content of 10.5%, maximum acidity level
of 0.80g/L and a maximum of 200 mg/L of sodium. Quality wines may only be sold in bottles, which must
in turn be 0.75L or less in terms of size. The seal must include a bottle number, issued by the controlling
Labeling requirements are clearly defined. There are objective and facultative regulations, with the latter
being consistent with international practice. Mandatory information includes information of the type of
wine (red, white, etc.), the alcohol content, the quality category, the volume and the origin of the wine.
The name of the producer and the INAVI registration number must also be identified. From a facultative
perspective, information relating to the year of production and the grape variety must be provided. With
respect to the grape variety, the identified grape(s) must make up at least 85% of the total.
The equipment employed by the larger exporting Bodegas is comparable with modern international
standards. The technologies employed are comparable with those common in Europe. In 1948, the first
Uruguayan institute of higher education dedicated to viticulture was founded in Montevideo, the Escuela
Australian Wine Law History
Typical WINERY NAME
Brief Outline of History of Australian Wine Law
1901 At Federation, Australian States
Australian retain responsibility for Food legislation.
Wine Label VINTAGE—(Optional*) (i.
e. Year Grapes Harvested)
1929 Federal Government creates
Australian Wine Board, with
responsibility to control and promote the
GEOGRAPHICAL INDI- export of wine and grape products.
Wine Style Name—i.e. Dry 1980 AWB becomes the Australian
(i.e. Region of Grape
Origin) Barossa Valley Red/White – (a Name is Wine and Brandy Corporation, created
Mandatory, but VARIETY under the present AWBC Act 1980.
is optional*) Shiraz 1989 Wine industry requests the
Single vineyard or Estate
Grown designation Government to legislate the Label
VOLUME—(Mandatory Integrity Program under the AWBC Act.
on Front label) - (Min. 1991 States agree to uniform Food
(Mandatory) (wording is not
prescribed) - 14% ALC/VOL 3.3mm high) 750ML Standards, but States/Territories still
administer legislation under their own
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN (Mandatory)
NAME, ADDRESS (Mandatory) Produce of Australia or Australian Wine Food Acts. Standards include
(name and street address of responsible
entity – must be postal address only manufacturing and food labeling
provisions for wine.
1993 Wine Agreement with European Union
signed. Mutual acceptance of winemaking
practices and mutual protection of geographical
indications. AWBC Act amended to reflect our
obligations. Blending regulations now under the
2000 Food standards revised, but two-year
transition period of old and new.
2002 New Food Standards apply to both
Australia and New Zealand, but ‘old’ standards
retained for wine produced in Australia.
New Zealand has ten main wine growing regions, each displaying a
great diversity in climate and terrain. Differences in climate may be
illustrated by the variation in the harvesting date of Chardonnay. In
Waikato and Bay of
the warmer and more humid northern regions of Northland, Auckland
Plenty and Gisborne, Chardonnay might begin to be harvested in late
February or early March while in Central Otago, the world's most
southerly Chardonnay grapes may first be picked in mid to late April -
a difference of 6-7 weeks. New Zealand wine industry dates back to
1819 but has evolved dramatically during the past fifteen years. Now
considered by many to be one of the world's finest producer of
Sauvignon Blanc, it also produces world class Chardonnays and is
achieving success with Pinot Noir. The main wine producing regions
are Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Auckland and Waikato on the North
Island and Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury on the South
Island. It is a country of contrasts with dense, native forest, snow-
capped mountains and spectacular coastline. With wine growing
regions spanning the latitudes of 36 to 45 degrees and covering the
length of 1000 miles (1,600km), grapes are grown in a vast range of
climates and soil types, producing a diverse array of styles. The
northern hemisphere equivalent would run from Bordeaux (between
the latitudes of 44 and 46 degrees) down to southern Spain.
South Africa is
the world' s eighth
of wines and the
industry here is
more than three
old. Almost all
produced in the
Since the end of
has undergone a rapid revolution.
It was as early as 1652 when South Africa was deemed a suitable place to grow grapes for wine making.
Vine cuttings were taken from parts of Europe but mainly from France. The first vineyard planting for
South African Wines was in 1655. The South African Wine industry in the 1800’s began to really improve.
Due to the Napoleonic wars the French wine trade ceased and wine lovers looked to the Cape for a
variety of South African Wines. In the early 1900’s the South African Wine industry had considerable
over-production due to wars and the general hardship of the economy. Accordingly a co-operative was
formed to stop farmers competing amongst themselves. This coordinated activity allowed the sharing of
machinery and technical knowledge. While this system had many advantages it did not deal satisfactorily
with the problem of over production. In an attempt to counter this problem the Ko-operatieve Wijnbouwers
Vereniging van Zuid Afrika Beperkt (KWV) was formed in 1918 to oversee the wine industry.
In 1956 a quota system was introduced which effectively limited the number of vines a farmer could grow.
The result was that the KWV could control the size of the crop and the location of the grapes. There has
been a steady increasing investment into the South African wine market that has enabled the betterment
of wine growing and production. South African Wines are now widely exported throughout the world. It is
claimed that variety, taste and overall quality of South African Wines makes them very unique.
An official Wine of Origin scheme was only established in 1972, when legislation in this regard was
formulated. This new scheme would not only protect wines of origin but also wines made from a specific
cultivars or vintage. Certain basic principles were taken into consideration when the system was
formulated. It was, for example, necessary to comply with EU regulations because a great deal of South
African wine was exported to Europe. Principles such as honesty in business, factual terms, titles,
adaptability, local marketing truths and free participation were addressed.
South Africa's Wine of Origin certification scheme was officially instituted in 1973, in accordance with the
Wine, Other Fermented Beverages and Spirits Act of 1957
White wines are grown in much greater number than reds, mostly by Chenin Blanc , which accounts for
about 30% of the white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc production increasing
annually. Riesling is also grown in small quantities.
Historically Cinsault and Pinotage have been the most popular red grapes, however, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot are gaining popularity. The wine region is around Cape Town. With the
opening of trade between the rest of the world and South Africa, expect to see more wines and improved
quality and wine making.