Most people are not familiar with Bolivian Wine. It is a hidden secret.
The town of El Valle in nearby La Valle de la Concepción (Concepcion Valley), a sleepy little place tucked into the canyons, features several small family vineyards and wine bodegas where you can partake in the local vintage.
Chilean and Argentine wines have been gaining popularity in the United States and European markets for the past decade.
Now – located just north of South America’s two largest wine producers – Bolivia is hoping to stake their claim on the global market.
Bolivia has two things going for it. First, the scenic area of Tarija – ideally placed along the Andean foothills – has a rich wine producing heritage which dates back to the 17th century; and secondly, it’s the highest wine producer in the world (in terms of elevation; Chronic Cellars in California may have them beat in another sense).
Bolivia’s grapes grow between 5,000- 9,300 ft (roughly1600-2850m); in contrast, most wine-producing regions grow grapes below 1,600 feet (500m).
Higher elevation means the grapes get more sunlight, which concentrates the flavors and aroma of the wine. Add to that a Mediterranean climate during the summer, a region which almost never freezes and strong winds (which prevent the grapes from baking in the sun) and you’ve got an ideal location for wine-production.
One other thing: the high elevation helps the juice age faster. Winemakers claim a two year Bolivian wine is similar to a six year old wine elsewhere in terms of smoothness and balance.