January 3, 1862: On this day in 1862 Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who would later serve as the second president of Argentina between 1868 and 1874, entered office as governor of San Juan province in north-western Argentina. This region is the heart of the Argentine wine industry. Just months earlier as governor-elect Sarmiento had invited some French agronomists to the region to oversee the improvement of the burgeoning viticulture industry here. It was these Frenchmen who introduced the Malbec varietal to the San Juan region, which went on to play a huge role in the modern Argentinian wine industry. The main French agricultural engineer involved was Michel Aimé Pouget, who as well as introducing Malbec, also brought over cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Thus, Sarmiento and the French agronomists he brought over to Argentina in the 1860s played a crucial role in developing the Argentine wine industry during a formative period in its development. For more information, see Domingo Faustino Sarmiento edited by Victoria Galvani (Madrid, 1990), pp. 23–24.
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