“There has been the emergence of wineries in places where it was unthinkable to grow grapes just a decade ago.”
Magdalena Pesce is CEO of Wines of Argentina, graduated in international relations from the University of Congreso and specialized in marketing and winery management.
Pesce was considered one of the 50 most influential women in the world of wine by the Women in Wine & Spirits Award and appointed as “Ambassador of the Argentine Brand” by the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina.
AgriBrasilis – What are the main varieties of grapes grown in Argentina and their respective wines? Where is wine production concentrated in the country?
Magdalena Pesce – Along its 3,800 kilometers from North to South, the area of vineyards in Argentina covers 214,798 hectares (2020 data), of which 197,965 correspond to a range of varieties that give rise to wines of the highest quality.
Red grapes represent 59% of the total manufactured in the country, with Malbec being the main variety. After that, the most important are Bonarda and Cabernet Sauvignon. The interesting thing is that the diversity of terroirs imprints a different character and its own profile on each expression of the varietal.
Argentina’s wine map is mostly made up of the province of Mendoza, that concentrates 71% of national production, that is, almost 140,000 hectares, and the province of San Juan, with 21%, or 43,500 hectares. La Rioja (3%), Salta (2%) and Catamarca (1%) can also be mentioned. The remaining 1% is divided among the other Argentine provinces. And this is precisely something that differentiates the cultivated area of 2012, for example, from that of 2021. Currently, most Argentine provinces have vineyards on their lands.
There has been the emergence of wineries in places where it was unthinkable to grow grapes just a decade ago. Although incipient, we are experiencing a kind of federalization of viticulture.
Argentina exports 30% of the wine it manufactures, as the remaining 70% is consumed in our country. However, the main buyers of Argentine wine are: United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, and Canada.
AgriBrasilis – What is “terroir” and how does it relate to the different regions of Argentina?
Magdalena Pesce – It is the unique combination of natural factors that a certain vineyard has, added to the authorship of those involved in the production. This ends up generating a unique wine on each occasion and allows us to establish differences between a wine from one place and another.
In the same way that identifying grape varieties helps us understand the differences that exist between wines, terroir establishes a direct connection with the general style of what is produced in each location.
Being able to appreciate wines of similar styles, of the same variety and vintage, but from different areas, helps to understand a little more about the diversity of Argentina.
Currently, wine is manufactured in 18 of the 23 provinces of Argentina. This richness allows us to produce different styles of drink. Wine consumers have many quality options to choose from.
The agroecological conditions that Argentina has to manufacture its wines make phytosanitary problems irrelevant and do not impede their development and export.
AgriBrasilis – What consequences did the frost have for the current crop? What are the most affected regions?
Magdalena Pesce – The damage from these types of weather events usually only becomes visible over the course of weeks, which is why data is still being collected in the different regions. We have information that wine production will be adequate to fulfill all commercial commitments assumed.
The challenges are many, but we are confident that the sector, characterized by its great resilience, will manage to overcome the difficulties.