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Why You Have to Try This Peruvian, Desert-grown Wine

As one of the top culinary centres of the world, Peru continues to offer unique gastronomic experiences. Along with world-class cuisine usually comes world-class wine. Peru has growing global attention from wine experts as the country produces wine in a distinct climate and environment, leading to one-of-a-kind results. So why is Peruvian wine different? How is it unique to the rest that it’s a must-try for wine lovers like me? To answer these questions, let’s delve into the origins and process of winemaking in Peru.

Peru’s Wine Region is Uniquely in The Desert

Peru was the first South American country introduced to wine production. It started during the Spanish era when European winemakers set out to produce quality grapes in the elevated Cusco region. Over the years, wineries moved their vineyards to the more accessible Ica region, a desert oasis at the edge of the Atacama desert.

Today, Peruvian grapes are still primarily grown in Ica, an uncommon choice of climate for growing vineyards and producing wines. The higher temperature may not be the standard, but Peru has different varieties of grapes suited to the desert environment. Peru is second in the world as a wine producer using these particular desert grapes.

Tasty Wine Options 

Because of the high temperature in Ica, ideal grape varieties for growing in the region consist of Tannat and Petit Verdot. Both of them are late-ripening varieties and have thick skins, making them resistant to pests. These grapes have higher sugar content, resulting in relatively sweeter wine varieties with higher alcohol content.

There are many wine options in Peru, such as Intipalka and Sauvignon Blanc,  bright citrus whites perfect to pair with ceviche and other fresh Peruvian dishes. There’s also Don Manuel from Tacama, Peru’s oldest winery, one of this winery's darker characterized red wines. There’s also the growing favorite, Quebrada de Ihaunco, unlike any other wine in Peru with its tawny colour and its distinctive aroma. 

Peruvian Wine is a Rare Export

Peru’s wines are challenging to find in other parts of the world since there are only a few importers of Peruvian wine. The grapes of Ica are also used as the main ingredient in Peru's most famous drink, the brandy Pisco, itself heavily used around the world as the spirit used in the world-famous Pisco Sour. Still, Peruvians love their wine and are eager to share it with the world, and the world's demand for it is growing. This makes now a great time to start enjoying Peru’s many exciting wine varieties.

Which of these would you like to try first?

Don't worry: There are many more unique wine options available in Peru, more than enough for an exciting wine-tasting tour of Ica. Please share with us your experience with Peruvian wine.