By: Pat West, Owner of Vinos Finos
So why does Vinos Finos specialize in South American Wine? Easy answer: My wife is from there. Second answer: …..Value. When comparing wines of the world, there are lots of countries making good juice. At Vinos Finos, we believe the best wines for the dollar are from South America when comparing quality received verses amount paid. The opinion is based several unique qualifiers. The price of vineyard land, cost of labor to care for the crop, geographic location that affects water and sunshine, wine making skills, and climate are just a few that set South America apart from its peers.
If you look at a map of most of the world vineyards, they are located along the coast, near oceans/seas such as: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Africa and the USA (Napa, Oregon, Washington State). Wind and weather for the most part throughout the world move in a westerly direction due to the spinning of the earth. Grapes like warm days and cool nights.
The Andes mountains of South America are unique and some of the tallest in the world. The Andes reach upwards to 24,000 feet above sea level. The wines of Chile benefit from the Pacific Ocean, with the Andes Mountain range to the west. Rain is deposited in the valley when the warm air hits the cool air from the mountain. Warm air and fresh water makes white wines delicious. The same Andes Mountain range prevents most rain from reaching its neighbor on the other side of the mountain, which is Argentina. Argentina mountains get snow, not rain; snow is deposited on the mountain before reaching the vineyards. The limited rainfall and desert environment makes excellent red wine. With temperatures soaring above the 100 degree range with little rain, the sugar content in the grapes gets very high. The thirsty grapes receive water that is controlled, my man, via irrigation allowing controlled sugar content of the grape. In addition, the COLD (35 degree F) nights of the desert allow the grapes to ripen on the vine more than any other place in the world. Like maple trees in the north, the cold forces the grape sap to move to the roots, allowing the grapes to sleep on the vine.
There is little need for insecticides, as the same desert heat melts the snow, also cooks the soil. Most pests that harm grapes such as grasshoppers, Japanese beetles, aphids as these insects lay their eggs in the soil. Imagine a 100 degree day…. and then think of how hot the soil temperature can be. The hot soil cooks the eggs until they are dead.
Remember too that many of the worlds greatest wine makers left Europe during the World Wars, migrating to the Americas. Many of the winemakers of Chile and Argentina are of European wine making descendant with years of experience. The above is just a snapshot on why South American wines are some of the best in the world. Come to Vinos Finos and see for yourself!