As one of the New Worlds "Up and coming" regions vineyards have been cultivated in Southern Brazil for over 150 years. The highlands area is called the Serra Gaucha (Gaucho Highlands) and was mainly settled by the Northern Italians who brought with them their cultural and culinary practices. The climate, 30C in summer dropping to -3C in the winter, and the higher altitude proved similar to their homeland and perfect for grapes. Of the 68,000ha of Brazil given over to vines only about 7% is European rootstock and the majority of this is used for the production of sparkling white wines, similar to the Italian Spumante. During the 70s and 80s European producers spotted the potential of the Serra Gaucha and started to plant the more popular Cabernets, Pinots and Chardonnays and, along with the sparkling whites, they have developed into wine that can now compete with the likes of their near neighbours Argentina and Chile.
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