Uruguay is a relatively small country located in South America, and it is the fourth biggest wine-producing country on the continent. The viticultural history of Uruguay has begun a bit later than the other well-known countries of South America like Chile and Argentina.
Although the first vines planted on Uruguayan soil are dating back to in the middle of the 17th century imported from Spain. The commercial wine production of Uruguay did not start until half of the 19th century. The country has ideal climate and topography for cultivating vines with clay-based soils and the balanced hours of sun, volume of rainfall and annual temperatures. The Atlantic Ocean is influencing the vineyards much like in Bordeaux with having a longer and warmer growing season. In the same time, the sun intensity is similar to that of Argentina and Chile with refreshing cool air currents generated from the Antarctic.
When introducing Uruguay it does not go by without mentioning the most iconic grape variety which has found a second home in the face of this country, the Tannat. It is the signature grape of Uruguay making robust, tannic red wine that has played such a crucial role in the country's rising wine status. The Tannat grape has been brought by settlers from the Basque Country, as Don Pascual Harriague is the man typically given credit for Tannat's distribution around Uruguay, and for a long time the name Harriague was used as a synonym for the variety. Other grapes that are thriving in Uruguay are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
Most of the vineyards and wineries are located in the hills north of the capital Montevideo, particularly in the wine-growing regions of San José, Canelones, Montevideo, and more scattered around the country including an interesting position in Rivera on the northern border with Brazil. Uruguay has become one of the up-coming wine countries for the past decades, and it increases strongly its positions, on the international wine market.