Introduction to the wines of Brazil

So i’m sure it’s a very Unfamiliar territory for most people um Brazil not really on the wine map until Very very recently and it’s a great Chance tonight to get to know at least Some of the wines and some of the Some of the things that make brazil an Interesting wine country that’s kind of One of the burgeoning new countries in The world seen for for producing wine A lot of that will become clear as we go Through the presentation but let’s start With the geography Let’s establish exactly where brazil is And where the winemaking takes place And what’s kind of special about this Country and it’s terroir So brazil by far the largest country in South america And the world’s fifth largest country Actually just very slightly smaller than The whole of the United states put together it’s about 9.5 million square kilometers as opposed To brazil’s 8.5 You could fit around 19 uk’s into the Size of brazil it’s a massive country And 211 million people live in it it’s also A very populous country the sixth Most populous country in the world and So a big important country for all sorts Of reasons Uh which i guess might

In one level make it slightly surprising Why we haven’t heard of their wines Before But the explanation for that will become Kind of clear as we go through The evening and through the presentation What are our images of brazil well Certainly fine wine is not one of them Um i guess the kind of main image that a Lot of us might have will be The beaches of rio and the sunshine and The carnival and all of that kind of Joyous brazilian Atmosphere that we see in television Like the sun-kissed beaches If not that then perhaps it’s the amazon Rainforest The sheer kind of exotic nature of the Rainforest the tropical jungle The weird and wonderful animals the Primitive people are Yet to be discovered living up in the Upper reaches of the amazon A lot of a lot of us kind of think of Brazil in those terms And the gauchos shared between argentina And uruguay and brazil These kind of wild open spaces with lots Of castle farming Another image of brazil that we might Have or even The favelas these slums these shantytown Slums That have grown up around the big cities

Like sao paulo And are featured in the news a lot Because of the drug and Gang violence in the cities now all of That Is really kind of far removed from our Image of Winemaking you know if we think about France or italy or spain or germany You know those those images which are Very distinct of brazil Have nothing to do with wine production And there’s a very good reason for that If you look at the country again it’s Divided into 26 States and if i expand that slightly Um of those 26 states some of them The names will be quite familiar uh like Rio de janeiro down there on the coast And the amazonian region up in the north West we have kind of um Costa rica and panama feeding down there All full Of the tropical jungle rainforest And the kind of exotic side of brazil And indeed if we look at where the Equator lies It begins to tell the story of why Brazil was Not one of the major wine producing Countries The equator there brazil running from Around Four degrees north of the equator down

To about 33 34 degrees south of the equator Now the vast majority of that land is Not in what we would regard as wine Making country One state in particular called rio Grande del sul Is responsible for 90 percent of all Of brazil’s fine wine by fine wine i Mean it’s Bottled wine rather than just wine being Sold in bulk And it’s wine made from the vitus Vinifera Grape which is the european wine grape The one from which The world’s quality wines are all made There are a couple of other Genus of vitis of grape vines Which we’ll talk about a little bit more But in terms of Fine wine made from the recognized fine Wine grapes This one state of rio grande of seoul Makes 90 of the entire production There’s a little pockets of wine making All over brazil Small ones some in santa catarina The state just above rio grande do seoul Which you can see there They’ve got a reasonable wine production This is the other 10 Are scattered around brazil and the Surprising one which we’ll look at a

Little bit more maybe Up in this bahaya state is called the Valley de san francisco Which is a way up in tropical country But is quite An important the second most important Wine producing area Now it’s important in terms of volume so Far not so much in terms of quality We’re not tasting wines from there Tonight and i’ll talk some more Actually in week two we’re going to take A little look at bahaya although we’re Not Tasting wines from there i thought it’d Be quite interesting to look at this Very in some ways peculiar wine Producing area Up there much more towards the kind of Tropical equatorial part Of brazil but thinking again about rio Grande or sew And blowing uh it’s the most southerly State of Brazil as you could as you can see uh Just To its west is argentina and just its South Is uruguay and if we blow up the Picture of it in a moment you’ll see Where the wine production takes place But first of all more generally you can See that it’s Roughly in the same latitudes as the

Main wine growing regions of Argentina and chile and most of the wine Growing on in argentina is based around Mendoza A little bit much further north and Salter a little bit A bit further south and patagonia and The same for chile The vast majority of its vineyards Around the capital city of santiago And all those famous chilean regions Maipo and koshawa and all of those Things you may have heard of All based around there so this bottom State this Furthest south state of brazil Not too far from those in terms of Latitude Which gives you one of the reasons why It’s the state where wine Is produced and indeed if we look at Those lines of latitude 30 to 50 south these are traditionally 30 to 50 south and 3250 north Are the latitudes in which the textbook Says You can only make fine wine and if we Expand that up to look at the world and Keep those same lines of latitude You’ll see that for chile and argentina The bulk of the country is within the 30 To 50 South latitude as is south africa and The south of australia new zealand

And the same in the north you know if You look across that band of 30 to 15 North You’ll see that all the places that we Think of as wine producing countries are Within those bands And but brazil only a tiny fraction of It is The rest of it is too close to the Equator For traditional wine making and because It’s Too hot and too humid and the vines Don’t ripen properly suffer for too much Disease And don’t get a chance to can arrest and Retain their acidity So that’s why wine is not made towards The tropics Although there are these exceptions in Brazil which will come too But it does explain that this little Area of uh Rio grande do sew is the prime area for Wine production And especially uh in a sub-region Of rio grande oso called sera gancha i Believe that pronunciation is actually Gaucha in portuguese but i just say Goucher because it’s in my brain So sarah goucher there in the kind of East Of the rio grande do a seoul state And you can see there’s maybe a couple

Of reasons why it’s Such a big player if rio granted a soul Makes 90 Of all brazil’s fine wine this one Little part of it is responsible For 80 percent of all fine wine so an Extremely important Little area and A couple of reasons for that one is Probably there is further towards the Coast And that proximity to the ocean probably Mitigates some of the heat a little bit Keeps a little bit of freshness with Some breezes from the coast And also just in practical terms it’s Very close to a major Port of brazil called porto alegre Where if they’re going to export their Wines It has to get out of the country some Way and the infrastructure of the south Of brazil Is not that great the roads the trains All the rest of it This massive country so sailing the Wines out and up towards North america or over to europe uh is Is important to have a port and it’s Very close to porto alegre So a couple reasons why sarah goucher is Such a prime An important position winemaking Region rather and if we go on again and

Look at it in a bit more detail Sarah goucher the industry centers Around this town of mint of gonzales It’s the kind of capital of the industry The wine there are vineyards all around It But it’s mostly important because that’s Where all the business happens that’s Where the wineries have their Headquarters and the business has been Happening for 150 years The wine road with this giant barrel the Wine root If you want to go and visit the wineries Their stats for most people invented Gonzales to the most important town But in terms of the landscape It’s mainly made up of clay and sand Soils Over basalt now basalts of volcanic rock And makes this area quite interesting Because a lot of people who get Into the soil types the terroir of wine Are quite intrigued by volcanic soils by Basalt soils and we get them in places Like mount Etna the slopes of their places like Basilicata which is named after the Basalt soils in the south of Italy and all over chile up in places Like washington State there’s a lot of soils made from Uh volcanic rock which people think give Quite an interesting aspect to wine so

Sarah goucher has that in its favor it’s A land mostly of small holdings people A bit like you know kind of Sharecroppers small subsistence farmers Who just have a Couple of hectares of vines and most of Them just Hand their fruit over to a local Cooperative who makes the wine for them But we are seeing more and more small Artisan boutique producers who have Their own estate vineyards and make Their own wine And that’s really what we’re focusing on In the next couple of weeks Is a couple of those small artisan Family owned producers The land itself is has a bit of altitude From about 250 meters rising to about 750 meters And as many of you will know especially If you’ve done my um tastings before Uh for every 100 meters of elevation That you go Up you drop around one third of One degree centigrade in average Temperature So if you’re up there at 750 meters You’ve dropped about five degrees in Temperature from down in the valley Floor Which is very important to build Viticulture in a hot Area in a humid area because rising up

It gets cooler and drier so vineyards at Some altitude are very important here in Brazil And it said also this volcanic basalt Soil Is also very good at retaining acidity In vines Which is one of the reasons this area Can produce high quality wines Combination of soils and altitude Um this is a statue which is in sara Gaucha A statue commemorating the italian Immigrants who settled an area in the 19th century And one of the questions that um you Might ask yourself which i Also pondered when i first came across Brazilian wines Is why there wasn’t more portuguese Influence Portugal colonized brazil back in the 16th century And of course has a great tradition of Wine making But in fact we see very few portuguese Varieties Being grown in brazil and we see more Italian And more recently french varieties and That all stems from the fact that the Italians in the 19th century And we’re going to go over this timeline Again next week just to kind of come

Back and focus on how wine developed But the italians really put winemaking On the map And we’re the first to plant uh great Grapevines in sara gaucha those times They soon found out that the european Vine Struggled to grow in those hot and humid Conditions The italian grape varieties that they Would have brought with them So instead they mostly planted hybrid Grapes And vitus labrusca the vitus lebruscus Is another one of these Of the species of vine grape it’s quite Common in the eastern united states Things like Concord and isabel the grape varieties They don’t make the finest wines but They are very good at ripening In conditions that don’t really suit the European wine grape So a lot of these yellow grapes are Planted in brazil where those are Hybrids Which are crosses between vitis vinifera And vitus la brusca So they were trying to find something That would actually thrive and grow and Survive In these conditions another thing about Their area the sierra goucher area Is that it is a long tradition of making

Sparkling wines a lot of that tradition Came from The italians who settled there Especially a lot of Settlers came from the north of italy Where those wines like prosecco and Spamante Asti spamanti and so on were very Popular so a lot of great variety A lot of the wine production was Sparkling wine And brazilians love a party and love a Celebration So that fed the local market too These days there are also a lot of Traditional methods sparkling wines or Champagne Method sparkling wines and a lot of that Was kind of Instigated by the influx of money coming Into brazil just over the last 30 or 40 Years Including maui shandong who established A big domain chandon brazil To make quality traditional method or Champagne method sparkling wines in the 1970s So that’s a kind of run through Why brazil has this one small enclave of Wine making And next week we’re going to go in a lot More to why it took so long for Winemaking to really Take grip and become established in

Brazil But this week i didn’t want to overload Us with facts and figures so i thought We would stop at that point to taste our First wine or to talk about our first Wine then taste it And some of these other questions and Facts about brazil will surely be kind Of tease down over the course of tonight And next week So our first wine is a sparkling wine Um suitably enough and it is one made by The Charmat method you’ll see it says that In front of the bottle in a moment i’m Going to explain more about that