When you think of fine wines, a few countries or regions renowned for winemaking probably spring to mind: France, Italy, Spain and even relative newcomers like California, which produces 90 percent of the wine made in the United States. But while Argentina may not have been one of the first countries on your personal wine list, this South American nation joins those better-known wine superpowers to round out the top five wine producing regions (by volume of wine produced) in the world.
Argentina, a country about three-tenths the size of the United States, stretches from the center of South America to its southernmost tip and encompasses an impressive range of climates, from subtropical in the north to sub-Antarctic in the south, with the Andes Mountains to the west, beaches to the east, and foothills, deserts and grasslands in between. The country's broad diversity of both latitudes and altitudes makes for some of the most extreme winegrowing terrain in the world.
Those at all familiar with Argentinian wines probably know the country best for its malbec, a big, flavorful red, but the variety of grapes grown here -- and of both red and white wines produced here -- is as wide-ranging as the landscape. Read on to learn about the regions of Argentina's wine country, the history of its winemaking, and the varieties that are slowly but surely attracting international notice and securing Argentina's position in the world.