Myth #9- A wine-making ban led to pisco production in Peru

We are back to our series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco!

history wine peru, history pisco peru, pisco, peruvian pisco

 

Vintners in Peru started making pisco when Spain tried to hinder wine-making.  However, the story is more complicated than a simple restriction.

 

According to historian Guillermo Toro-Lira, the first vineyard in South America was planted in Lima between 1539 and 1541 by Hernando de Montenegro, a Spanish captain (Lima). The first wine was made in 1551, marking the beginning of a new era of wine-making in the New World. By the end of the 16th century, delicious Peruvian wine was demanded around the world, creating formidable competition for Spain’s winemakers.

To hinder wine production in Peru, Spanish royalty imposed high taxes, banned Peruvian wine in Spanish colonies and prohibited the planting of new vines in Peru. However, their attempts were unsuccessful until 1641, when King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Peru was then cut off from one of its last remaining markets. Here is a summary of the timeline:

  • 1539 -1541– First vine (Listán Prieto) planted in Lima by Hernando de Montenegro
  • 1551– First wine made in Lima, making Peru the first winemaking region in South America
  • 1595– Felipe II prohibited planting vines in the colonies. However, people continued planting and making wine.
  • 1595– Felipe II- started taxing vineyard owners, which diminished the amount of vines in Peru.
  • 1614– Peruvian wine was competing so much with Spanish wine that King Philip III prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Panama.
  • 1615– The sale of Peruvian wine was banned in Guatemala.
  • 1641– King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Since the market for wine was cut off, vintners in Peru began to use their grapes to make pisco.

 

Instead of abandoning their vines, locals began to use the grapes to make brandy in lieu of wine. Over time, the viticultural knowledge of the Spanish blended with agricultural traditions passed down from the Incas. Years of trial and error led to diversification and selection of the best varieties, identification of optimal regions for grape growing and improved production practices. These factors, along with a climate favorable to grape growing, have allowed Peruvians to proudly craft their national beverage for hundreds of years.

So now you know, a series of restrictions that spanned over the course of 100 years led Peruvians to start making clear brandy. While the decision was detrimental to the wine industry in Peru, thankfully Peruvians were able to use their grapes, knowledge and manpower to make pisco.

 

Sources:  

Huertas Vallejos, Lorenzo. “Historia De La Producción De Vinos y Piscos En El Perú.” Revista Universum, vol. 2, no. 19, 2004, pp. 44–61.

“Lima, Cuna Del Primer Viñedo y Del Primer Vino De Suramérica.” www.efe.com, 28 Sept. 2018, www.efe.com/efe/america/gente/lima-cuna-del-primer-vinedo-y-vino-de-suramerica/20000014-3763502.

 

Buy Pisco Online!

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Until recently, strict and complex regulations have limited the sale of alcohol through online channels. However, due to Covid-19, technology is evolving as retailers turn to digitalization and invest in e-commerce channels (Nesin). These factors have have made e-commerce a viable option when buying alcohol.

Many consumers are purchasing alcohol online for the first time through Instacart, Drizly, Flaviar or local liquor stores.  Whether you are new to e-commerce are or a seasoned online buyer, here are a few ways you can order Piscologia online and have it delivered to your door.

Buy PiscoLogía online on the following e-commerce sites in Canada:
Buy PiscoLogía online on the following e-commerce sites in the USA:
Buy PiscoLogía online on the following e-commerce sites in Japan:
  • PiscoLogía Acholado via Amazon
Sources:

Nesin, Bourcard. Association of National Advertisers-, 2 June 2020, https://www.ana.net/committee/meeting/id/BAA-SHOP-JUN20.

Nesin, Bourcard. “Will The Covid-19 Crisis Change Alcohol E-Commerce Forever? Like, Forever Ever?” RaboResearch- Food & Agribusiness, Rabobank, Apr. 2020, https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/beverages/Alcohol-Online-and-COVID19.html.

Pisco And Tonic

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As summer approaches, we recommend you add pisco to your repertoire of refreshing cocktails. Pisco is an exciting substitute for gin, vodka or whiskey and it can be mixed with a gamut of flavors. Explore its versatility by mixing pisco with a high-quality tonic. We guarantee the pisco & tonic will be your next go-to cocktail for hot summer evenings!

Pisco & Tonic

1.5 oz PiscoLogía Acholado

Top with Fever Tree Tonic

Serve over ice. Garnish with kalamata olives, citrus wheel or lime peel 

 

Tips for making your pisco & tonic:

  • The ratio of gin to tonic varies according to taste & strength of the pisco. Most recipes call for a ratio of pisco between a 1:1 to 1:3.
  • To preserve effervescence, pour your tonic down a bar spoon.

 

Works Consulted:
Hughes, Christopher. “Gin Dandy: Three Great Tonic Syrups for Your Summer Gin and Tonic.” Boston Magazine, Boston Magazine, 9 Oct. 2013, www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/2013/06/25/gin-and-tonic-syrups/.

Aquafaba Vegan Pisco Sour Recipe

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Aquafaba is the starchy liquid in a can of chickpeas. When whipped or shaken, it creates a foamy alternative for egg white in a pisco sour.

To make a vegan pisco sour, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 oz. PiscoLogía Acholado
  • 1 oz. aquafaba (the drained water from a can of unsalted garbanzo beans)
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or ¾ oz. simple syrup

 

Place all ingredients in a shaker without ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Strain into chilled glass. When foam rises, garnish with 3 drops of bitters.

 

Here are some tips for making a vegan pisco sour with aquafaba:

  • Chill your aquafaba before shaking and straining.
  • Before measuring your aquafaba, vigorously shake the unopened can of chickpeas. Next, strain the chickpeas, whisk the aquafaba and then measure. This will ensure the starches are evenly distributed throughout the liquid, allowing you to take full advantage of their whipping abilities.

Peruvian Pisco vs. Chilean Pisco

One of the most hotly debated subjects around the world is: “Is pisco Peruvian or Chilean”? Because indisputable historical and etymological evidence suggests that pisco was first produced in Perú, we firmly believe pisco is Peruvian.  So, in order to protect the Denomination of Origin for pisco in Perú, we will use the term “Chilean brandy”.

Despite the argument over the origin and ownership of pisco, it is indisputable that Peruvian pisco and Chilean brandy are very different distilled spirits. What follows is a comparison of both. In the chart below, we compare their production methods, the grape varieties used, their production zones and more.

peruvian vs. chilean pisco, is pisco peruvian?

How to Pronounce Pisco Terms

Have you been wondering how to pronounce common terms used to describe Peruvian pisco? Below you will find a quick guide to help you learn how to use proper pronunciation on your next pisco-drinking adventure.

First, how do you pronounce our brand name?  PiscoLogía is pronounced Pees-koh-loh-hee-ah”

 

The three pisco types:

Pisco puroPuhr-oh

A single varietal pisco made from wine from one type of grape.

Pisco acholadoAh-cho-lah-doh

Made from more than one varietal. It can be a blend of grapes or a blend of piscos.

Pisco mosto verdeMoh-stoh vehr-day

Pisco made from musts that aren’t fully fermented and sugar is still present in the juice.

 

The four aromatic grape varietals:

AlbillaAll-bee-yah

ItaliaEe-tahl-ee-ah

MoscatelMohs-cah-tell

TorontelToh-rohn-tell

 

The four non-aromatic grape varietals:

MollarMoh-yar

Negra CriollaNay-grah- cree-oh-yah

QuebrantaKay-brahn-tah

Uvina- Oo-vee-nah

 

Did Victor Morris Invent the Pisco Sour?

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Victor Vaughen Morris often receives credit for inventing the pisco sour. While the cocktail became wildly popular in the 1920’s thanks to the American expatriate, evidence shows that pisco sours existed years before Morris began serving them at his bar in downtown Lima.

In his blog post “The Origin of the Pisco Sour”, Nico Vera shares a recipe from a cookbook published in Lima in 1903, The Nuevo Manual de Cocina a la Criolla. Made with “egg white, a glass of Pisco, a teaspoon of fine sugar, and a few drops of lime……all of this beaten in a cocktail shaker” (Nuevo), this unnamed creole cocktail is strikingly similar to the pisco sour served by Morris. Because this recipe began circulating in 1903, this could prove the pisco sour was being made in Peru long before the 1920’s.

We may never know who invented the pisco sour. However, its popularity hasn’t lost momentum since the 1920’s. Recently recognized as one of the most popular cocktails in the world (Wolinksi), the pisco sour continues to win over discerning drinkers around the globe.

Check out Kami’s pisco sour and three vegan pisco sour recipes on our blog.

 

 

Works Consulted:

“Nuevo Manual De Cocina a La Criolla – 1903.” Edited by S.E. Ledesma, Issuu, 20 Feb. 2013, issuu.com/davidpino7/docs/recetario1903.

Vera, Nico. “The Origin of the Pisco Sour .” Pisco Trail, 9 Dec. 2013, www.piscotrail.com/2013/12/09/culinary-history/the-origin-of-the-pisco-sour/.

“Victor Vaughen Morris.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Mar. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Vaughen_Morris.

Wolinski, Cat, and Helena Yankovska. “The 50 Most Popular Cocktails in the World (UPDATED 2019).” VinePair, 31 May 2019, vinepair.com/articles/50-most-popular-cocktails-world-2017/?fbclid=IwAR2QLQXeh5Vw_F1YaaUpyDlhu9Nc9I4HdaOD7dedVi-3YazgD-BiODCXEl4.

PiscoLogía Quebranta Wins Gold Medal at the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards in London

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LIMA, PeruNov. 16, 2019 — PiscoLogía Quebranta, a single-variety Peruvian pisco made from Quebranta grapes, won a gold medal at the most important wine and spirits competition in the world judged by women buyers – the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards. Held in London at the Royal Yacht Club, 100 of the world’s most influential female buyers assembled for the historic occasion. Top retailers, importers, and hospitality entities were present for the blind tastings, including Waitrose & Partners, Bibendum, Enotria & Co, 67 Pall Mall, and The Arts Club.

The award reflects the quality and craftsmanship of the pisco, which is made in Azpitia, in the Denomination of Origin of Lima. “We are honored to receive this gold medal and celebrate the work completed with my partners Nati Gordillo and Kami Kenna. It is a culmination of years of dedication to the art of pisco making” said Meg McFarland, founder of PiscoLogía.

PiscoLogía is available in the USA through Craft Distillers, in Canada through the Unknown Agency and in Japan through The Blue Habu Trade Group.

 

 

About Piscología Pisco Puro Quebranta

Made from 100% estate-grown grapes, PiscoLogía Quebranta is the quintessential craft pisco. Its aromas are grassy, herbal, and reminiscent of sweet caramelized banana.  It tastes of toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.

 

About Topa Spirits, LLC

Topa Spirits, LLC is a 100% women-owned producer, importer and wholesaler of Piscología Pisco Quebranta and PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado.

Connect with PiscoLogía on Facebook, Twitter and www.piscologia.com for cocktail ideas, contests and breaking product news.

 

NOTES FOR NEWS EDITOR:

For further images, see link here: http://wineawards.org/medal-and-press-images/

Full results on https://wineawards.org/wwsa-2020-results/

PiscoLogia Tasting Notes by Craft Distillers

Ansley Coale from Craft Distillers discusses PiscoLogía Quebranta and Acholado’s unique qualities in the following video:

 

 

 

According to Ansley, PiscoLogía pisco is “incredibly clean and has nicely intense flavor, but high acid” due to the desert climate of our vineyards. In addition, he found the Quebranta to be “intense, incredibly elegant and structured with a beautiful mouth and a very nice, long, clean and balanced finish”. The Acholado is “fruit forward, with soft aromatics. It’s Quebranta married with the roundness and fruitiness of the Italia”.

Do you want to buy PiscoLogía Peruvian pisco to find out for yourself? Check out Craft Distillers’ Distribution Page for a distributor near you or visit Caddell Williams‘ website to purchase online. Flaviar will also ship PiscoLogía to your home.

The Best Pisco Is Made With Intuition

Nati Gordillo, pisco distiller, peruvian pisco, women liquor industry

 

I recently sat down with Nati over a delicious meal, as one always does with Nati, to conduct an interview for this blog post. Since forming the band of women that lead our company, we 3 PiscoLogía partners have never lived in the same city. My goal was to pinpoint exactly what makes Nati so special, as understanding each other helps our partnership thrive. I quickly discovered that besides being the most talented master distiller, Nati’s profound intuition is what sets her apart from others.

Nati’s intuition is manifested in the way she connects with nature. It all started in northwestern Peru, in the city of Piura, where Nati grew up among lush agricultural fields. She used to spend hours in orchards as a child, harvesting juicy guavas and other sweet treats. In her youth, Nati formed a special bond with Pachamama (Mother Earth), a bond that nagged her after starting a family in the bustling city of Lima.

In 1998, Nati’s yearning to connect with nature brought her to Azpitia, where she happened upon a plot of land for sale. At first glance, the sandy hills of Azpitia seemed inhospitable to plants. However, Nati’s intuition allowed her to recognize the unique terroir and immense potential in the barren, rolling slopes. First she would have to channel glacial meltwater from Andean Lagoons to bring life to her project. Then she would have to cleanse the soil of salt- residue from the briny Pacific Ocean mist that had accumulated for centuries.

She irrigated day and night to remove the salt and resuscitate the coastal desert. After a year, native plants began to appear, proving her land was ready for Quebranta, Italia and Torontel vines. Throughout the waiting process, Nati contemplated the circle of life that surrounded her, monitoring the moon’s phases, honoring Pachamama to bless her future crops and sowing native plants that would benefit her vines. She also studied the practices of those who came before her, adopting agricultural techniques from the Incas and viticulture concepts from the Spaniards.

Three years later, she rented a still to distill her first batch of pisco. Nati patiently supervised as the clear brandy collected in the well, drip by drip, for 33 hours. The experience gave her the confidence and determination to learn more. One course and a Sommelier degree later, and Nati was ready to buy her first 300L copper-pot still, which boldly shines in the distillery today.

Learning a trade and running a business can be tumultuous. However, one thing has always guided Nati: her intuition. It tells her how to raise her grapes, when to harvest and how to listen to nature. It gives her the insight to know when to cut the heads from the tails and how to care for the pisco after distillation. Her clairvoyance makes her treat the Earth with respect before reaping its benefits. That is why Nati’s pisco is so extraordinary. She creates delicacies with nature’s ingredients through a deliberate, respectful and loving process.

When I asked Nati what she wanted the world to know about her, she humbly answered that she believes in putting positive energy into everything she does. She stated that she likes crafting pisco because it is an act of giving to others. Her comments made me reflect on how lucky Kami and I are to work with Nati. Her quiet introspection completes the puzzle of our partnership, guiding us to make wise business decisions. I then realized that Nati isn’t the most talented master distiller AND the most intuitive; she is the most talented master distiller BECAUSE of her intuition.

Soon Nati’s daughter Beatriz will start her apprenticeship to learn how to distill pisco with her mom. Beatriz will learn well from her mom’s talent and sixth sense.  We all know that the best pisco is made with more than just skill; you need positive energy, respect for Pachamama, and most importantly, intuition.

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