Wine industry taking off in Brazil’s driest region

Global Business

Large scale irrigation has allowed Brazil’s poorest and driest region – the northeastern county side – to develop a thriving wine industry.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

Wine industry taking off in Brazil’s driest region

Wine industry taking off in Brazil’s driest region

Large scale irrigation has allowed Brazil’s poorest and driest region – the northeastern county side – to develop a thriving wine industry. CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

Cacti and grapevines are not usually seen side by side. But thanks to irrigation, this sight is now common in Brazil’s northeastern countryside.

The irrigation has allowed several wineries to operate here — very close to the Equator, in an arid region known for its severe droughts that can last for years.

This is a very hot and dry region so, in principle, not the ideal place for the production of grapes, but the combination of year round sun and irrigation allows farmers to adjust the amount of sugar they want in their fruit.

The more sunlight it receives, the more sugar a grape creates – which is a key factor in wine production. If they need less sugary fruits, they need to water the plants more.

This winery has specialized in producing wines for the fast growing organic market.

To assist these producers, the Brazilian government has set up a wine and grapes lab in the local offices of the federal agricultural research agency.

The production of wine in the Sao Francisco valley has also allowed this region to develop another activity that has proven very successful: wine tourism.

Visitors first take a boat ride over the waters of the Sao Francisco River, used to irrigate the plantations. Then go to the winery to learn how the wine is produced and of course, taste the final product made there.

The science behind wine-making is the enologist’s job, but showing visitors around is also key to increasing brand recognition.

Wine still lags far behind beer as the drink of choice in Brazil. But its consumption has been growing in recent years. And wineries here in the Sao Francisco valley are doing their part to cultivate still more Brazilian wine drinkers.