Explore Peru – Ica Wine Region
18th July 2022
The continent of South America produces some outstanding Sparkling Wines, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some Argentinan and Chilian Sparkling Wines, but today we are visiting the history-filled country of Peru, 5 times bigger than the UK with about half the population at 32.97 million (2020)
If you are unsure where Peru is located in South America, it sits facing the west coast looking out to the South Pacific Ocean, containing a section of the Amazon rainforest and the incredible ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. It boarders, Ecuador, Colombia, Brzail, Boliva and Chile.
Now that we know where Peru is, we need to identify one of its most, if not, the most popular wine regions in the country, and that would be, Ica.
The country of Peru served as the gateway into South American Wine, it was in the heights of Cusco, near the ancient Incan city, Machu Picchu, that Spanish Colonisers planted the first South American vines in the 1540s.
Although ‘Cusco’ holds the title for first Vines Planted in Peru, and the whole of South America, winemakers soon turned to planting vines towards the coast on lower grounds in the city of Ica, as the lower altitude was easier to harvest the grapes, dropping from an approximate elevation of 3,399m to 406m.
Ica is a region surrounded by oasis-like sand dunes and thriving palm trees, watered by the mountain rivers that flow through the city, creating what is for some, paradise on earth, it is also known to locals as the ‘Land of the Sun’.
Due to the high temperature in the region, it does form a slight challenge for the wineries, but at the same time creates the perfect climate for growing grapes with a high sugar level, which means if you visit Peru, you can be indulging in some very nice sweeter tasting wines.
Wineries and Winemakers also have to deal with late-ripening grapes. Popular grape varieties in Peru consist of Torrontés and Albillo, with Tannat and Petit Verdot which both have thick skins and because of that, they can stand up to bullies like pests, mold and fungus which are common in vineyards around the world, it also makes them perfect for growing in dry/hot climates.
Peru is another one of those countries that drink more than it exports, meaning the rest of the world doesn’t get much of a taste, but not because they don’t want to share, it’s more because they don’t have many importers, you can, of course, find Peruvian Sparkling Wines with importers in the U.S and some, but not many in the UK or Europe, but if you want to indulge in Peruvian Sparkling Wines, then I recommend you plan a trip to visit the country and some of the wineries.
Ica is also home to their national drink, called Pisco, it is another way in which Peru uterlise their grapes, they distill fermented grape juice in copper pots stills and combine it with a high alcohol spirit, throughout the many years, since the Spanish created it in the 16th-century as an alternative to their Orujo, it has been produced with many different grape varieties, but today, the most common grape used is, Muscat.
To end this article, I thought this might interest you, in Ica, in 2007, researchers unearthed the fossil remains of a prehistoric penguin, called ‘Icadyptes salasi’, it was around 30 million years old and would have inhabited the Atacama Desert, Scientists came to the conclusion that the penguin was between 4.5-5 feet tall with a 1-foot long beak.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.