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Uruguay’s wine history officially starts with its independence from Spain, Brazil, and Argentina in the mid-19th century, although there were likely a few Criolla vines planted before. In these early days a wide range of varieties were cultivated, including the Basque variety of Tannat, which was known as Harraigue for decades, named after one of its great advocates, Pascual Harraigue who first planted it in Uruguay’s Salto region in 1871.
Although Uruguay has only been producing wine for just over 150 years, the nation’s wine families have a rich European-influenced wine heritage which is evident in the eclectic range of wines it produces, ranging from fresh, coastal Albariño to rich Petit Verdot. Combining family heritage with a pioneering New World spirit, Uruguay today is seeing an explosion of new wine styles and vineyards, and with an increased focus on sustainability. It is an unsung hero of South American wine with a vibrant wine culture and a new generation of winemakers exploring the country’s diverse terroir.
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