Brazil Produces Award-Winning Wine
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's Julie McCarthy discovered that Brazil is churning out award-winning wine at unlikely latitudes.
JULIE MCCARTHY: Vineyard owner Walt Santos(ph) aggressively approve the vines on his 2,000 hectare spread along the banks of the San Francisco river in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. In Brazil's vast Northeast, the climate hardens inhabitants the way it hardens the Earth. But vintner Santos says the life force of the San Francisco River that runs past his land, quenches his fields, and makes them bloom.
VINCENT SANTOS: (Through translator) The river is responsible for everything. Without it, nothing would grow in this parched land. There have been times when it hasn't rained for years. It's practically a desert.
MCCARTHY: In homage, the corks of his wine called Rio Sol, river and sun, bear the figure eight. Decanter.com online editor Adam Lechmere says new latitude wines are sprouting up from Brazil to Thailand to India.
ADAM LECHMERE: With the advances in technology, and with vineyard management techniques, it's not difficult to make good wine nowadays. We're not so dependent on climate, for example.
SANTOS: (Portuguese spoken)
MCCARTHY: Despite its young age, its reserve blend of shiraz and cabernet, served to the pope on his recent visit, was voted Brazil's number one wine last year. Rio Sol is being sold in 22 countries, including France, Italy, Spain and the United States. Santos says nearly half of his production is for export.
SANTOS: (Through translator) I don't think I'm a pioneer, but our company had the courage to invest in a region that has risks, and that we had to research. It took entrepreneurial courage to come to another part of the world, all to show we could make great wine in another region.
MCCARTHY: Julie McCarthy, NPR News, on the San Francisco River.
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