Wines from Bolivia

Another Winemaking Gem of South America

As a wine lover, you might be aware that Argentina and Chile are the most wine regions in South America.

But, many of you are unaware of the fact that Bolivia is also home to several old vineyards.

It’s to be noted here that the vine-growing heritage of Bolivia is dating back to the 1500s.

Some might wonder why the Bolivian wine industry is remaining embryonic despite the rich wine history.

It’s because the countries like Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Brazil have worked out on its wines and proved very successful during the past five decades.

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All these developments that have happened in the neighbouring countries slightly moved Bolivia out of sight on the wine map.

Now, it’s a good time to learn about this important wine region of South America here …

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Remember to read the Wine Tasting guide…

What’s so special about Bolivian Vineyards?

Well, the special characteristic or what we can say it as “unique selling proposition” of Bolivian vineyards is that all the vineyards of the country are situated at the altitudes of 1,600 to 3,000 meters above the ground level.

It’s very surprising to note that there is no other nation on the planet with this characteristic.

In simple terms, Bolivia is having the world’s highest vineyard surface. The concept of “High Altitude Wines” was developed in the country during the year 1993 when it was found that there were minor differences in the quality of wines due to the changes in the altitudes.

Today, this attribute is found to be giving the Bolivian wines a unique position on the world wine map.

Key Wine Regions in Bolivia

Within the country, there are several valleys where wines are being traditionally produced for over 400 years. The winemaking territory of the country can be divided as follows:

  • Central Valley of Tarija
  • Valley of Los Cintis
  • Valleys of Santa Cruz
  • Valleys in Potosí, La Paz, and Cochabamba

As such, we can find that the total vineyard surface area of Bolivia is totalling to almost 3,000 hectares.

Of these, the central valley of Tarija alone is accounting for nearly 2,400 hectares and thus, stands as the largest wine region in the country.

The single, large region is accounting for as much as 93% of the country’s total grapevine production.

Thus, this single region is producing almost 5.7 million liters of wine, thereby, representing 97% of the country’s wine production.

Wine Laws and Regulations in Bolivia

The SENASAG is the body responsible for the quality control of Bolivian wines.

It’s this body that certifies the wineries, as well as the wines for both local and international markets.

The work of the SENASAG is being supported by many other labs.

As such, the Bolivian wine sector is being regulated by a Supreme State Decree (revised in the year 1999) plus various other norms.

All these are found to be regulating various aspects of wine production like making, bottling, as well as commercialization.

In addition to all these laws and norms, there is the Supreme Law 1334 of 1992, which is known to establish the “Denomination of Origin” for singani.

Following is the list of laws that regulate the wine production in Bolivia:

  • Supreme decree No 6521
  • Supreme Decree No 24777
  • Law No 3053 (year 2005)
  • Supreme Decree No 25569
  • Law No 1334 (year 1992)
  • Law No 3048
  • Law 3685
  • Law 529

Key Grape Varieties in Bolivia

When it comes to wines in Bolivia, it’s mainly reds. Thus, the key grape varieties of the country would include:

On the whiter side, Bolivia is all about Muscat, although you can find a handful of the classic international grape varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

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Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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