In addition to being one of the world’s most exciting tourism destinations,
Brazil is also one of South America’s emerging wine producers. The southern region of the country’s terroirs is home to European vines and American hybrids and has made a reputation for itself producing world-class sparkling wines among other varieties.
Grape vines first arrived in Brazil in the mid-16th century, introduced by early Portuguese colonists. However, it was only in recent decades that Brazil began to export wine. The arrival of several international wine companies in the 1970s and 1980s contributed significantly to the wine-production infrastructure. They brought with them new winemaking technologies and vineyard-management techniques, and the French grape varieties which at that time were rapidly gaining popularity all over the world: Chardonnay and Semillon for whites, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds.
Most of Brazil's wine is produced in the far south of the country, so it was only when roads were carved through the plains and forests in the early 20th century that these regions were connected with the rest of Brazil. Although not yet recognized on an international scale, the quality of Brazilian wines is increasing year on year. Brazil's best-known wines are arguably its sparkling whites, many of which are made in a style similar to Italian Spumante. Based primarily in the northeast and the southeast of the country, there are currently over 1,100 wineries producing balanced, pleasant wines.
Brazil's wineries are mostly located in the southeast in the Serra Gaucho region in Rio Grande do Sul near the Uruguayan border. The region offers an exciting combination of world class wine producers and Gaucho culture. Many ranches have their own vineyards and production facilities.
There are multiple areas of note in Serra Guacho. Small co-op farmers in Vale do Vinhedos — chosen by Wine Enthusiast as one of the 10 best wine tourism destinations to visit in 2013 — have recently produced very notable sparkling dry brut wines and offer a wide variety of lodging and activities. The Rota do Vinho wine trail passes through Bento Goncalves, a great destination for wine lovers.
Further north, in Bahia, the Vale do Sao Francisco wine region is a well-irrigated marvel of modern wine-making. Although the valley sits on the equator and has a semi-arid tropical climate, viticulturists have been able to manipulate the vines into producing two annual vintages each year.
While visiting Brazil, many wine enthusiasts take the opportunity to visit Brazil's many additional wonders, including Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon region, and the sparkling beaches of the northeast.