Today you can find wine from all around the world. France, Italy, Spain, and the US top the list, but there’s incredible wine coming from the most unexpected places in all five continents: Uruguay Wine. Whether you’re looking for a casual red to enjoy with friends at get-togethers or a bottle for a special occasion, there’s something for every palate.
Uruguay is a hidden gem for quality wine, and wine connoisseurs are bulk buying. They know something wine amateurs don’t; the wine is delicious, it reflects the country’s terroir beautifully, and for a great price. Imagine the most vibrant and flavorful wines from known and friendly grapes, but also from unknown varieties that spike your interest and satisfy your wine curiosity. Uruguay Wine has it all. The wine is splendid, at all price points, as simple as that.
Uruguay might be known for its delicious food, warm people and folklore, but their wine is raising eyebrows, and we’re about to tell you all about it. After you read this, you won’t only be dying to try the South American country’s wine, you might just want to visit, and that’s fabulous because the country is an extraordinary destination for wine lovers.
Wine-wise, the country is right along the wine belt sharing latitudes with Chile, Mendoza in Argentina, South Africa and Australia. It’s the fourth-largest wine producer in South America, harvesting over 70,000 tons of grapes from over 8,000 hectares of vines. That’s a lot of wine, and most of it never leaves the country, Uruguayan people know their stuff and have made wine part of their everyday lives.
Uruguay wine is world-class, it's top-notch. They can easily beat much more prestigious wines in a blind tasting, and have a fantastic versatility, but what makes the wines good?
There’s no one answer to this question but many, but it all starts, as with the best wine regions in the world, with a short history lesson.
An Enviable Uruguay wine history
The Spanish conquerors brought their love for wine to the new world, and they packed enough vines to get the South American wine industry going.
Significant influence by French grape growers and enologists in the 19th century infused Uruguay with love for fine wine based on French and other European grapes. The grapes adapted immediately to the noble land and the mild weather and soon became the base for wine even the Europeans couldn’t oversee.
With the establishment of the first experimental vineyards in the hands of viticulturist Pascual Harriague, the father of Uruguay’s wine, came the noble grape Tannat, a rarity even in France and today’s Uruguayan flagship grape.
Uruguay wine faced the vine-destructing phylloxera in 1893, and it took time to recover. It wasn’t until the second half of the twentieth century, after social, economic and political turmoil, that the wine industry had the chance to reinvent itself following the success of neighboring Argentina and Chile and began producing wine of export quality.
Today, Uruguayan wine is out there to be discovered, and its versatility on the table makes it every Sommelier’s darling and is served at the best restaurants on earth. Still just making its way to the global market, people enjoy wines from Uruguay everywhere, from the USA to China.
An ideal terroir
Most of Uruguay’s vineyards are planted near the coast around the country’s capital, Montevideo. Grapevines love to feel the cold oceanic breeze run through their leaves. The fresh air cools the grapes and keeps them healthy. Summer’s blistering sun makes for balanced and ripe grapes, and in the hands of expert grape growers, they result in superb wine.
Uruguay might be a small country, but don’t think for a second, it lacks diversity. The country has different climates and micro-climates that allow winemakers to be creative. Uruguayan wineries are making wines of all styles with dozens of distinct grapes.
The Uruguay wine is made in the vineyard, not in the wineries. Every glass of Uruguay wine reflects the soil where the vines were grown; it reflects the sun and the breeze, the rain and the hands of the vineyard workers. It’s everything. You can’t make great wine without exceptional terroir, and in that category, Uruguay checks all the right boxes.
Uruguay Wine: Extraordinary grapes
The country is better known for the tannic, structured, and full-fleshed Tannat, the queen of red grapes in the country. The best wines are indeed made with this rare grape from South-West France, it’s originally from the Madiran region, near Bordeaux.
Still, the South American winemakers are experimenting with all kinds of grapes with monumental success.
Pinot Noir, Albariño, Viognier, Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are all delicious. Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc ripen to perfection in the blessed country, and they all make a great team around Tannat.
Light reds and complex blends, aromatic and full-bodied white wines — When it comes to wine grapes and styles, the sky’s the limit for Uruguayan wineries.
Wineries, old and new
Exceptional terroir and ripe wine grapes are one thing, but you still need passionate grape growers and winemakers to bring everything together. There are hundreds of wineries in Uruguay, most of them are family-owned, small operations that give it all for their vines. If you want to try Uruguayan wine, and we know you do, there are many wineries to choose from. Here are a few outstanding properties.
The superb wines
And if you’re unsure where to start, these are the most renowned wines. Pick one, anyone, and you’ll see why Uruguay is the hidden gem everyone’s talking about.
There’s too much to say about the beautiful South American country and its wines, but why tell you about it if you can experience it? Get yourself a bottle of Uruguayan wine (or two) and taste for yourself. We should also tell you that Uruguay is a beautiful place to visit, too, and all the wineries are ready to receive you with open arms.
Now we’ve shared with you the secret, Uruguay is the new kid on the block, and its wines are real gems waiting to be discovered. Don’t wait! Enjoy the best wine on earth and keep the secret safe. Even better, share it with everyone!