400 years of history
Mendoza is a province that is located in the western center of the Argentine Republic, a desert and mountainous area, with the benefits of an ecosystem that makes it very suitable for the cultivation of the vine, having irrigation with meltwater, clean and without contaminants ; thermal amplitude, with all sunny days and cool nights and high temperatures in summer giving the grape an ideal alcohol content for this industry.
They say that the Incas came to the Valle de Huentata (Mendoza), the southern end of their empire, and helped the Huarpes -the original people- to develop an irrigation system fed by the water from the thaws. “If it had not been for these channels, upon arrival in the sixteenth century the Spaniards would have found a much more arid and desert landscape”.
THE FIRST STEPS
The Argentine vitiviniculture had its origins in the middle of the XVI century, and between the last decades of the XVI century and the first ones of the XVII the first wineries and vineyards arose in Mendoza.
The elaboration of the wine in that time was a very complicated art, given the precariousness of the available means, it began with the milling of the grape in the press. This one was made of cowhide leather, in wooden structure.
The vinification processes and their equipment were also rudimentary; the grape was stepped “by foot” in cow or oxen leather presses, suspended from thick horcones. Once the must was obtained, it was dropped by the tail of the animal, which acted as a conduit.
The must and the skins were collected in leather buckets, provided with rings through which two sticks passed, which allowed them to be transported to the cellar.
Once there, the liquid was poured into large pieces of baked clay, where the fermentation took place.
After the fermentation, the new wine was transferred to the conservation vessel, a process that was carried out by its own gravitation, when the stopper of the fermentation vat was removed. In this operation a strainer, made of perforated leather, was interposed, so that the stream of wine, when sneaking, left the seed, the skin and other impurities.
Once the jar of preservation was filled with the new wine, it was covered and sealed with lime, plaster or mud, to avoid the entrance of any foreign body. The wine was left to park or age until the moment of the expedition. It can be seen that wine making was a truly artisanal task, in which all the care of the case had to be provided.
First great transformation - quantity
The railroad brought Italian, French and Spanish immigrants with new techniques of processing and cultivation and so the processes were technified and wineries were equipped with equipment that allowed the processing of increasing quantities year after year.
This transformed the agricultural and industrial activity of Mendoza, turning it into a booming province that grew in hectares planted with all types of varieties of vines and increasing number of wineries
SECOND GREAT TRANSFORMATION - QUALITY
At the end of the 80s, everything changed again and slowly began a new stage in Argentine wine with large national and foreign investments, and the accent placed on quality. The varietals were changed and the consumer’s wishes were the priority.
The Argentine wineries, started to participate in the main competitions worldwide, positioning Malbec as our most prestigious varietal, with a large number of international awards.