Brazil, the land of exuberant landscapes, precious stones, exotic fruits, hot people, exquisite cuisine, and CACHAҪA. For decades, South America’s largest country has been known as the birth place of this spirit (pronounced KAH-SHAH-SSAH), a lesser known relative of Rum used to make delicious CAIPIRINHAS and to be enjoyed as a cordial in the case of higher quality and aged types. While it may still be relatively unknown outside Brasil, it has occupied an important spot among the spirits preferred by Brazilians. Wine… hmm, not so much.
Upon our return from an amazing adventure at Rio2016, we noticed several articles talking about Brazilian wines and the potential impact Rio2016 may have on the industry such as the one from Cathy Huyghe who contributed the linked article to Forbes.
It turns out that until not long ago Brazilian wine couldn’t compete in quality or volume with its European counterparts or even those imports arriving from Argentina and Chile. The two South American wine giants have been exporting high quality, low price wines to Brazil for decades, spurring an increase in consumption that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Brazilian wineries. In recent years, Brazilian wineries have been raising their standards and trying different varietals in order to improve the quality of their wines and also in the hope of changing the perception most Brazilians have of their own home grown vinhos. The results are AMAZING.
From the southern Sierra Gaucha, where Italian immigrants introduced wine production in the 19th century, to the wine country in Pernambuco, a state in the northeast known primarily for its spectacular beaches and friendly people, Brazilian wines are slowly inching their way onto the center stage in a global market always looking for the next big thing. The challenge Brazilian wineries face today is how to increase the market share outside Brazil for their wines. With a per capita consumption of under 4 liters per year, Brazilians drink about 1/10 as much as Argentines and Chileans and less than ½ as much as Americans, thus lacking a domestic market large enough to support its own high quality, high price production. On the other hand, Brazil’s wine output places the country in the 15th spot globally, well ahead of powerhouses like New Zealand and Austria.
We were lucky enough to try a 2013 Rio Sol Touriga Nacional that rivals and outperforms any Touriga Nacional we’ve had in the past from Portugal. We loved every drop of it…! Most importantly, we strongly felt that companies like Rio Sol are a perfect example of the potential Brazil has to become a force to be reckoned with in the global wine market. It is entirely up to them to grab the place in the spotlight they so deserve.