South America has actually been making wine since the 1500’s. Back then, the wine was crap. Franciscan Monks planted Mission grapes (including País and Criolla Grande) to make wine for religious purposes. The movement of viticulture (and monks) traveled through Peru into Chile and eventually into Mendoza, Argentina. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s when plantings of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere gave South America the leg-up it needed to make some exceptional vino. South American wine industry is booming because the region has some very unique benefits. Argentina is 5th in the world’s wine production and Chile is 9th, just ahead of Portugal.