The History of Wine in Brazil

The Portuguese, who already produced wines at that time, brought in their caravals, about 65 thousand liters of wines used for masses, cooking, sanitizing food, and consumption by the crew.

They offered the wine to the Indians, but the long journey changed the quality of the drink. It did not please the natives, who presented the Portuguese with a fermented drink made from manioc called Cauim.

Brás Cubas, the First Producer

The history of wine in Brazil began in 1531 when Martim Afonso de Souza was chosen for a colonizing expedition and brought the first vines cultivated in Brazilian lands.

In 1532, the Portuguese Brás Cubas became the first winegrower in Brazil.

The first experience of Brás Cubas was not so satisfactory, he started growing grapes in a coastal region, which today is the city of Cubatão in São Paulo, and the vines did not succeed.

In search of better results, Brás Cubas transferred the cultivation of his grapes to Tatuapé city, in São Paulo.

The Prohibition of Manufacturing Activities in the Colony

Wine production in Brazil has grown since the 16th century. However, on January 5, 1785, Queen Dona Maria I banned any manufacturing activity in the colony, including winemaking. It was not until 1808, with the arrival of the Portuguese royal family, that manufacturing practices were allowed again.

The Arrival of the Italians

Italian immigrants have a significant share in Brazilian winemaking. In 1899, the immigrant Manuel Peterlongo landed in Garibaldi, Rio Grande do Sul, and was responsible for creating the first Brazilian sparkling wine. In 1915 he founded the Peterlongo winery.

The Creation of Cooperatives

In 1929, after the Great Depression ravaged the world, producers came together to strengthen the wine industry and created cooperatives. In 1931, two of the most important wine cooperatives, Aurora and Garibaldi, were made, and both are still in operation.

The Arrival of Multinationals

The success of Brazilian sparkling wines is so great that in 1973, the great manufacturer Möet & Chandon saw the potential of Brazil and began to invest in the production of sparkling wines in Brazil.

There are more than 300 wineries in Brazil spread throughout the territory. Places like São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Minas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro grow grapes and make wine.

Wine Production Today

Concerning other South American countries, the wine culture in Brazil is still recent. But with Brazilian terroir studies, machinery investments, and new techniques. Brazil is on the rise.

Today, Brazil is already among the most important wine markets in the world. According to the latest study released by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), the country produced 3 million hectoliters of wine in 2018. This production gives Brazil the 21st position among the 22 main producers in the world. Part of this success comes from sparkling wines, which worldwide win medals and place the country in the hall of the best in the world.

First Denomination of Origin

After almost five centuries of history, it was only in 2012 that Brazil won its First Denomination of Origin: D.O. Valley of the Vineyards. Classification for sparkling wines and fine wines produced in the municipalities of Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi, and Monte Belo do Sul in the Rio Grande do Sul follow a series of pre-established requirements.

Award-Winning Wines

As in most wine-producing countries, here in Brazil, production is focused on quantity rather than quality, which is rapidly changing.

Brazilian and sparkling wines have been gaining worldwide fame, especially sparkling wines.

Elected in 2020, Casa Valduga’s 130 Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine took 1st place in a contest in Paris called Vinalies Internacionales.

In 2021, Brazil broke the record for winning wines at The International Wine Challenge, in London, with 55 distinctions, including two silver medals, 22 bronze, and 31 honorable mentions.

In 2022 this number increased. In the 19th edition of Decanter, Brazil won 75 medals, 16 silver, and 59 bronze.

Wine consumption in Brazil

More than an increase in the production and enrichment of our wine quality, we see a change in how the drink is consumed here in Brazil.

Consumption increased by about 35% during the COVID pandemic. Even though consumption is still low compared to other countries, Brazil has begun to produce quality wines, and consumption is rising.

Also read: Wine Tourism in the United States

On this Day

May 13, 1699 – The pioneer of winemaking in Portugal, Marquis of Pombal, was born on this date. His influence transcends well beyond Portugal, and he is credited for taking fundamental steps to transform the winemaking trade in the world.

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Categories: Country Profiles, This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: , , By Published On: November 3, 2022Last Updated: May 2, 2023

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