Cradle of the Tannat grape variety, Uruguay is the first country in Latin America with geo-referencing of all its establishments.
Uruguayan wines, with more than 250 years of history to their credit, have won international awards and are endorsed by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). These awards are reinforced by the use of technology applied to sustainable and quality production, which has allowed all the wineries to be geo-referenced. The country is also the first with its entire viticulture mapped out.
The Tannat grape consolidated its position as the country’s main variety due to its good adaptation to the soil and climate. Among the wine producing countries, Uruguay is known for its unique and characteristic varietal grape variety, which produces an elegant, intense and characterful wine that pairs excellently with meat, another of the country’s flagship products.
In South America, Uruguay is among the top four wine producers. Located between latitudes 30° and 35°, like most of the world’s leading producers, the country enjoys a privileged geographical location. The subtropical and humid climate and the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean help production, since it moderates the temperature in the hottest months. The calcareous, sandy, clayey soils, together with the undulating topography, allow for good natural drainage.
The oceanic influence is a determining factor for the grapes and allows the production of French grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chandon, Pinot Noir, and also of British origin such as Tempranillo and Albariño.
The traceability applied to these products, from the bunch to the bottle, in addition to providing information on their origin and trajectory, indicates to the consumer the geographical location of the crop and the characteristics of the winery. This system adds value and technology to a product born in the bosom of nature and guarantees quality and food safety.
Uruguay exported more than five and a half million kilos of wine, according to 2020 data that include shipments from free trade zones (equivalent to more than US$17 million). Brazil is currently the largest importer of this Uruguayan product with 58% of the total. In the January-October 2020 period, it recorded a 17% year-on-year increase. It is followed by the United States and the Russian Federation. Other important export destinations are Sweden, the United Kingdom and Poland.
According to data from the National Institute of Viticulture (INAVI), in 2020 there were 159 wineries that pressed almost 94 million kilos of grapes, 10.75% more than in 2019 when 83 million kilos were recorded. Specifically, sales of Uruguayan wine in the domestic market increased by 14% year-on-year between January and November of that year, totaling 62 million liters and reaching the highest levels in the last seven years.
In recent years, the Uruguayan wine industry has managed to capture the attention of the most demanding palates. The increasingly well-known quality and personality of Uruguayan wines has been constantly awarded in the most important international competitions. In 2020, the country won eight medals -two gold and six silver- at the Vinalies Internationales and Bacchus International Wine Competition.