When it comes to wines, Brazil is doing a great job. The Brazilian wine production developed significantly in the last 20 years and wine tourism has followed its path.
There are 150 wineries producing fine wines. The top destinations for tourists interested in this quality wines production are the Southern and Northeastern Brazilian regions, which provide environments amply supplied with natural resources and the structure required to welcome visitors.
In Rio Grande do Sul State, three regions stand out: Vale dos Vinhedos and Altos Montes, in the highlands, and Campanha Gaucha, along the frontier with Uruguay.
In Santa Catarina State, Planalto Catarinense is a center of young winemaking companies, with low temperatures and successful labels.
One of the best occasions to pay a visit to the Catarinense and Gaucha highlands vineyards is at the harvesting, which takes place annually in March, especially at the first fortnight, and celebrates the largest wine harvest period. There is always a special program and festivals so that tourists can participate in the harvest and still enjoy the end of summer.
Another relatively young center, but featuring a quality production, is the Sao Francisco Valley, between Pernambuco and Bahia States, which also has good attractions offers for visitors regarding hotels and travel agencies that support the wineries in the city.
Therefore, in both the sceneries mentioned, you can visit and find out where your favorite wines come from, visit the green landscapes, listen to stories, drink and eat with a great deal of happiness and satisfaction.
Vale dos Vinhedos
Popular wine tourism destination in South America and the main wine production region in Brazil, Serra Gaucha has a moderately high altitude, reaching around 1,300 meters. The average temperature ranges between 16 and 17º Celsius.
Among the several regions in Serra Gaucha worthy of a visit, theis a must-see one
It was the first Brazilian region to become a Geographical Indication (GI), located in the municipalities of Bento Goncalves, Garibaldi, Monte Belo do Sul, Santa Tereza, Veranopolis, Nova Prata, Cotipora, Fagundes Veral, Casca, Carlos Barbosa, Pinto Bandeira, Farroupilha, Caxias do Sul, Flores da Cunha, Nova Padua, Antonio Prado, Ipe, Sao Marcos, Campestre da Serra, Vacaria and Guapore.
The city of , with 100 thousand inhabitants, can be considered as the starting point. It is only 120 kilometers away from the capital and has an average temperature of 17,1º Celsius. Bento Goncalves is definitely one of the most charming cities in the Southern region, featuring a romantic vibe.
The Serra Gaucha wine circuit comprehends other municipalities and present many wineries to visit. While in the cities the typical landscape are countryside landscapes, the surroundings provide the visitors with valleys, mountains and vineyards.
It is one of the most organized and complete wine circuits in the world, featuring entertainment, accommodations and tours with different prices and for different styles. The vineyards are nearby and there are good roads with plenty of signs to get there.
This route offers more than 500 labels. Varietal wines (made from a single grape variety) or blends (made by more than a grape variety), from small, medium or large wineries, besides the bottles contain peculiarities that translate the region’s terroir, that is, the combination of factors including soil, climate and sunlight that gives wine grapes their distinctive character.
In winter full bodied wines are the favorite ones, the red wines from Merlot variety and the Chardonnay white wines stand out, the emblematic varieties from the Designation of Origin of Vale dos Vinhedos (DOVV).
There are more than 30 wineries where tourists can visit the wine production process guided by the cantiniere, participate in the wine production, tour around the stainless steel tanks and smell the characteristic aroma of a canteen, and also taste wines still being processed and the ones in oak barrels. There are attractions all over the year, but winter is the top season.
However, you can discover wonders in the small wineries, which either supply the local markets or sell special wines for famous brands, few but valuable units. In such small properties experience is more authentic, featuring handmade production processes, which are hardly available at supermarkets, and follows the internationally renowned quality standard.
The Valleys’ winery production process comes from Italian tradition, from cultivation to bottling. This is a region of peculiar soil, climate, topography and cultivation factors, whose quality products are renowned in international competitions.
Regarding gastronomy, the menu is extensive. There are good restaurants and dining rooms in wineries available upon reservation. The facility includes colonial products, typical Italian and contemporary (pasta, risotto and exotic meats), regional dishes such as barbecue and pizza, including the services of full-course dinners, slow food and a la carte meals.
Check the cheerful Maria Fumaca tour, a conserved steam locomotive that connects the cities Bento Goncalves, Garibaldi and Carlos Barbosa in half an hour. It’s 23 kilometers full of joy and native vegetation, featuring music, food and drinks at the stops. The three cities were colonized by Italians and they keep their tradition, as you can see by the train tour.
Likewise there is the Caminhos de Pedra wine circuit in Bento Goncalves, a historical and tourist road that displays landscapes and delicious food to taste, resulted from the Italian immigration to the Brazilian rural area.
Another municipality in the Vineyards Valley worthy of visiting is Pinto Bandeira that presents landscapes wealthy in native vegetation, waterfalls and valleys. These wineries feature charming options in gastronomy and accommodation. Try legendary sparkling wines, travel to caves that offer wine tasting and grab a blanket because there are spaces for picnicking admiring the vineyards.
In Garibaldi give especial attention to sparkling wines, a specialty from this municipality, and find out where is the Estrada do Sabor (Tasty Road) and the Rota dos Espumantes (Sparkling Wines Circuit).
It is located in the Northeast superior hillside of Rio Grande do Sul State, between the municipalities of Flores da Cunha and Nova Padua. This region in known for having the highest mountains in Serra Gaucha, ranging from 600 to 800
meters high, the reason why it is called Altos Montes. The annual average
temperature is 16,6º Celsius.
Throughout history, the associate wineries reached the qualification for wines and its derivate products and invested in projects and facilities to assist visitors in their needs, being important for the development of the regional tourism.
In Altos Montes, varietal wines such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Ancellotta, Refosco, Marselan, Tannat, Riesling Itálico, Malvasia de Candia, Chardonnay, Moscato Giallo, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtraminer, Trebbiano, Moscato Branco, Moscato Giallo and Moscato de Alexandria are produced.
All the wineries produce fine wines, featuring large facility to assist visitors and host wine tasting, which is generally performed by the farmers themselves.
The Altos Montes wine circuit is completed by the beauty of the rural area, mountains, cascades, valleys and the Antas river, the gastronomy in some wineries and the traditional Italian typical dishes, with especial highlights to menarosto (Roasted Meats), an official dish from the municipality of Flores da Cunha.
Campanha Gaucha, also called Frontier, is located along the frontier with Uruguay, in the municipalities of Bage, Dom Pedrito, Santana do Livramento and Uruguaiana.
This region is very close from the traditional line considered ideal for viticulture, between parallel 30th and 50th. The annual average temperature in these cities ranges be-tween 18º and 20º Celsius and altitude above sea level ranges from 66 to 212 meters.
Campanha works nowadays to receive a GI status. The quality production keeps on surprising just like the options to welcome tourists.
The natural conditions are similar to the Mediterranean region. The fact that there are no mountains makes easier the transportation and commerce of red wines and sparkling wines at excellent prices.
The regional climate is favorable for the production of European grapes and quality wines. The main varieties of red wines produced are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tannat, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz, Teroldego, Malbec, Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. The main varieties of white wines are Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Another important destinations for tourists in Serra Gaucha are: Hortensias region (Gramado, Canela and Alto Feliz), the Santa Maria Silveira Martins touristic and gastronomic wine circuit (Santa Maria and Vale do Veneto), the Serra do Sudeste (Encruzilhada do Sul and Pinheiro Machado), the Metropolitan Region (Porto Alegre), the Marinheiros Island, in Rio Grande, and the Alto Uruguai (Sarandi, Barra Funda, Rondinha, Tres Palmeiras, Ametista do Sul, Alpestre and Planalto).
Wine productions at the Planalto Catarinense is among the cities of Lages, Bom Retiro and Sao Joaquim.
The highest altitudes of the Brazilian viticulture are in Planalto Catarinense, ranging from 900 to 1,350 meters above sea level the lower average temperatures provide especial conditions for a fine viticulture aiming to quality. The annual average tempera-ture in Sao Joaquim is 14º Celsius, and Bom Retiro’s and Lages’ are around 16º Celsius.
This region has progressed in the production of European grapes and quality wines. The red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested late, on March or April, which makes possible a proper ripeness.
White varieties from cold climate, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, and the red varieties such as Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are being cultivated, showing great potential.
Planalto Catarinense is also an ecotourism destination, for it has trails and perfect plac-es to practice rappelling and canoeing.
Sao Francisco Valley
The municipalities of Petrolina, Lagoa Grande and Santa Maria da Boa Vista, in Pernambuco, and Casa Nova, in Bahia, are in parallel 8th, 500 meters above sea level, and have annual average temperature between 24 and 25º Celsius.
It is this climate, with high solar irradiance, together with nine months of drought a year, which make the cultivation of wine grape possible. All this thanks to a controlled irrigation, provided by the river that named the Valley, which is located between Bahia and Pernambuco States. There are more than 500 thousand ha of vineyards.
The high sugar level is the main characteristic of the wines produced at the Sao Francisco Valley, a factor caused by the more than three thousand hours exposure to the sunlight in a year. The award of several gold and silver medals in both national and international competitions have acknowledged the quality of wines.
Among some of the varieties cultivated, Syrah has been compared to some of the best grape wines in world. Syrah is the most cultivated wine grape, although there is also Aragonês, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional among the reds, and Chenin Blanc and Moscato Canelli among the white ones. Sparkling wines predominate and its production is successfully sold in Brazil and abroad.
In a single vineyard it is possible to see all the stages of the vine growth cycle, an experience only available at the Brazilian semiarid region. As the climate is almost the same in all the seasons of the year, the vineyards work with alternating irrigation system, featuring harvests the whole year and two crops in each one of them.
You can get at the farms by car, which are one hour away from Petrolina or Juazeiro, in Bahia. There are also options of packages including visitation to vineyards, lunch and tours around the Sao Francisco Valley.
Circuits include a city-tour through the city of Juazeiro and a visitation to Barragem do Sobradinho (Sobradinho Dam) to see closely the world largest artificial lake and the eclusagem (locking up), a type of elevator that goes up and down according to the water that comes in and out of the dam.
The local gastronomy can be appreciated at the Bododromo, a space with ten restaurants that serve goat and lamb meat, besides of other typical foods from the Sertao.