Deciphering the DNA of Pisco Grapes

Pisco has captivated connoisseurs around the world with its rich history and diverse flavors. At the heart of this beloved spirit lies the DNA of pisco grapes, a topic that has fascinated specialists and enthusiasts alike. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the genetic makeup of pisco grapes and the intriguing complexities that surround them.

The Ever-Evolving World of Pisco Grape DNA: In our first version of the Pisco Certificate course back in 2020, we delved into the intricate genealogy of pisco grapes, referencing the work of Jorge Jiménez, who drew from research conducted by Jorge Llanos and Jancis Robinson, among others. We even shared a family tree of pisco grapes created by Nico Vera based on this knowledge.

Since then, additional specialists such as Amanda Barnes, Karl Mendoza, and their teams have unearthed new findings about the DNA of pisco grapes, adding fascinating layers to the narrative. As you can see in the image (click to zoom), some of their research is conflicting. The question is why.Grapes Pisco DNA

The Complexity of Pisco Grape Evolution: The complexities surrounding pisco grape DNA are as multifaceted as the grapevines themselves. Here are some key factors contributing to the contradictory information:

  1. Constant Evolution: Pisco grapes are agricultural products, and the grapevines are in a state of constant change. These vines can cross-pollinate through various means like wind, insects, and self-pollination. Over centuries, the grape varieties originally brought from Spain have naturally crossbred, giving rise to the intriguing diversity we see today.
  2. Unidentified Cultivars: Another challenge is the presence of unidentified and unnamed grape cultivars in Peru. These unique and unclassified varieties add an element of mystery to the DNA puzzle.

What We Can Assume to be True: Based on the confirmed findings of prominent researchers, some aspects of pisco grape DNA seem more certain. We can assume that:

  1. Quebranta is a cross between the Mollar grape and Negra Criolla, representing Peru’s only indigenous vinifera variety.
  2. Negra Criolla is a synonym for Listán Prieto, the first grape variety planted in Peru.
  3. Mollar has DNA similarities with other grapes with similar names, though the exact match varies.
  4. Uvina is a hybrid grape, formed by the crossing of vitis vinifera and vitis aestivalis.

Outlining the Discrepancies: However, discrepancies persist in the pisco grape DNA narrative:

  1. The origins of the Italia grape remain widely disputed.
  2. Torontel is another grape with differing views on its lineage.
  3. Palomino Fino, associated with Sherry production in Spain, presents contrasting interpretations.
  4. Moscatel remains one of the most mysterious grapes in the pisco world.

A Complicated Subject Indeed: Despite differing opinions among researchers, they all agree on one thing: the DNA of pisco grapes is an exceptionally intricate subject. As Karl Mendoza’s research aptly puts it, “Within the genetic resource of each region, several synonyms and homonyms remain to be clarified… making it difficult to assess the value of a given cultivar in a region.”

Conclusion: So, as we navigate this world of complex pisco grape DNA, we invite you to embark on your own exploration. Draw your conclusions, conduct your research, and most importantly, savor the diverse origins of Peru’s beloved pisco grapes.

Piscología’s Select Bottlings: Celebrating the Diversity of Pisco from Peru

pisco from peru

At Pisco Logía, our journey into the world of pisco has always been about more than just crafting a fine spirit. It’s about preserving tradition, embracing authenticity, and supporting small-scale producers who share our values of quality and sustainability. In Peru, the birthplace of pisco, there are over 500 certified pisco producers, but many face challenges when it comes to exporting their products or even finding their place in a saturated local market. Per capita consumption of pisco in Peru is relatively low, making it essential to explore new avenues for showcasing the diversity of this remarkable spirit.

To address these challenges and shine a light on the incredible variety of flavors that Peruvian pisco has to offer, we are proud to introduce our latest endeavor: Pisco Logía “Select Bottlings.” These exceptional products are a testament to the craftsmanship of other grower-producers who share our commitment to quality and authenticity.

Our first “Select Bottlings” release takes us on a journey that’s close to home. We are delighted to introduce our neighbor and dear friend, Alfredo Paino, who resides in Azpitia. Alfredo primarily cultivates Italia grapes and transforms them into exquisite piscos.

Puro de Italia 2021 – The Yellow Label: This exceptional pisco showcases the true essence of Italia grapes, meticulously crafted by Alfredo Paino at his vineyard and bodega. It’s a pure expression of the Italian grape variety, capturing the very spirit of the terroir.

No. 1 – A Blend of 70% Italia and 30% Quebranta 2022 – The Green Label: This blend is a harmonious marriage of Italia and Quebranta grapes, resulting in a pisco that beautifully combines the elegance of Italia with the robust character of Quebranta.

No. 2 – A Blend of 70% Italia and 30% Mollar 2022 – The Green Label: In this blend, Alfredo showcases his skill by marrying the luscious flavors of Italia with the unique character of Mollar grapes, creating a truly distinctive pisco.

These Pisco Logía “Select Bottlings” are more than just exquisite spirits; they are a celebration of the rich diversity found in Peruvian pisco. Each bottle tells a unique story of craftsmanship, terroir, and dedication. By supporting these small-scale producers who share our values, we aim to preserve the traditions that make pisco from Peru so exceptional.

Stay tuned for more exciting releases as we continue to explore the vibrant world of pisco, one “Select Bottling” at a time.


The Timeless Craftsmanship of Copper Alembic Stills: Elevating Pisco Production in Peru

copper still pisco peru

When it comes to the art of distillation, the choice of still plays a pivotal role in shaping the quality and character of the final spirit. Among the various options available, copper alembic stills have long been hailed as the pinnacle of excellence. In this blog post, we will explore the superiority of copper alembic stills, particularly in the context of pisco production in Peru.

Copper has been revered by distillers for centuries, and for good reason. Its unique properties make it an ideal material for crafting alembic stills. The secret lies in copper’s remarkable ability to interact with the spirit during the distillation process. As the liquid vaporizes and rises through the still, it comes into contact with the copper surfaces. This interaction promotes chemical reactions and catalytic processes that enhance the aroma, flavor, and overall character of the distilled spirit.

To truly appreciate the significance of copper alembic stills, let’s turn our attention to the world of pisco production in Peru, where it is crafted with utmost precision. In Peru, the art of Pisco production intertwines tradition with modern techniques. At the heart of this harmonious blend is the copper alembic still, revered for its ability to extract and preserve the essence of the grapes. Through a delicate and artful distillation process, the stills transform the carefully selected grapes into a spirit that captures the very essence of the terroir, embodying the flavors and aromas of the region.

The Superiority of Copper Alembic Stills:

  1. Thermal Conductivity: Copper boasts exceptional thermal conductivity, allowing for efficient heat distribution during distillation. This ensures a controlled and precise process, enabling the separation of impurities and the extraction of desired flavors.
  2. Reactivity: Copper’s unique reactivity influences the chemical reactions that occur during distillation, removing unwanted compounds and producing a smoother, refined spirit. It acts as a catalyst, enhancing the formation of desirable aromas and flavors, while minimizing harsh elements.
  3. Sulfur Removal: Copper has a natural affinity for sulfur compounds, which are common in grape-based spirits. These compounds can contribute to off-flavors. Copper alembic stills effectively bind with sulfur, reducing its presence in the final product and resulting in a purer and more delightful spirit.


Copper alembic stills reign supreme in the realm of distillation. Their unrivaled ability to enhance aromas, flavors, and purity is evident in the illustrious world of pisco production in Peru. So, the next time you savor a glass of pisco, take a moment to appreciate the mesmerizing artistry behind copper alembic stills, the custodians of perfection in distillation.

Myth #13- Single Distillation makes a pisco brand unique

To tout their piscos, some brands have appropriated production methods required by the D.O., marketing them as unique proprietary techniques. Attempting to distinguish a pisco based on these supposed proprietary production methods is misleading. This blog post will explain why.

First, the D.O. in Peru requires that all pisco be made from 100% grapes. If you produce a clear brandy in Peru and label it pisco, it is strictly required that the spirit be made only from grapes. Nothing can be added to it, not even water. That means if a producer does add something to the must, grapes, or wine before production, or to the brandy after distillation, then they are in violation of the Denomination of Origin in Peru and are subject to punishment. We will explain why producers of other spirits might add water to their distillates in another blog post.

Second, the single distillation method is often appropriated for marketing purposes. For the same aforementioned reasons, claiming single distillation as a proprietary production method is fallacious. ALL pisco made in Peru is distilled once because the D.O. for pisco in Peru requires it.

As we have mentioned on our website and in several blog posts, single distillation allows producers to highlight the terroir and distinctiveness of each grape. It also means master distillers have one chance to obtain the perfect pisco at just the right ABV. This is obviously very different than the production methods used to make other spirits, including Chilean brandy.

Now, does the single distillation method make pisco superior to other distillates such as Chilean brandy, whiskey, or gin? Perhaps, but why compare apples to oranges? Does the single distillation method differentiate one pisco brand from another?  Absolutely not. It is part of what makes pisco, pisco.

In summary, if people ask: “Why do you single distill and add nothing to PiscoLogía?”, the answer is simple: because the D.O. regulations require it. Why do the D.O. regulations require it? The D.O. for pisco in Peru was formed to formalize, regulate, and protect the production traditions perfected over hundreds of years in Peru.

For more information about the D.O. in Peru, please visit:


Embajador Gonzalo Gutiérrez anuncia la publicación en inglés de “Pisco: su nombre, su historia”

La publicación en inglés prueba que la denominación de origen del pisco le pertenece al Perú

pisco name history, gonzalo gutiérrez

El Embajador Gonzalo Gutiérrez anunció la publicación en inglés de su último trabajo: “Pisco: su nombre, su historia”, la culminación de una investigación sobre el verdadero origen del aguardiente de uva. El trabajo analiza la evidencia etimológica, histórica y cultural para confirmar que el pisco es de Perú.


Al presentar documentos antiguos, procedimientos legales del siglo XVIII y reflexiones sobre el destilado de uva en las artes y la cultura popular, el trabajo del Sr. Gutiérrez muestra los derechos peruanos sobre la Denominación de Origen de la bebida. El autor expresó que compartir su investigación con una audiencia más amplia de habla inglesa catalizará el avance de la D. de O. peruana.


Meg McFarland, traductora del libro, declaró: “El análisis del embajador Gutiérrez es un hito revelador en el ámbito de la industria de las bebidas espirituosas. Mi objetivo como traductora fue ayudar a la comprensión de los lectores de habla inglesa sobre la historia, la cultura y el origen del pisco. Lograr que esta información esté disponible en diferentes idiomas es crucial para el crecimiento del destilado peruano en todo el mundo”.


El lanzamiento virtual del libro se llevará a cabo el 23 de junio a la 1:00 pm EST (7:00 pm CSET, 12:00 m. LIMA). El Embajador presentará los principales argumentos para establecer el origen histórico peruano del pisco. El panel también incluirá a Kami Kenna de PiscoLogía pisco y Bourcard Nesin de Rabobank, quienes compartirán sus puntos de vista sobre el papel del pisco en el sector de bebidas espirituosas.


Haga clic aquí para unirse a la presentación del libro virtual:


Para comprar una copia de “Pisco: su nombre, su historia”, siga el enlace:


Sobre el Embajador Gutiérrez Reinel

Gonzalo Gutiérrez es el actual embajador de Perú en Bélgica, Luxemburgo y la Unión Europea. También ha sido Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores del Perú y Embajador del Perú en China y las Naciones Unidas en Nueva York. Recientemente publicó “Pisco Elqui, El Nombre Engañoso”, un ensayo que revela un esquema comercial engañoso montado en la década de 1930 para eludir las regulaciones sobre el uso de nombres geográficos para designar bebidas espirituosas en los Estados Unidos.


Sobre el Pisco

El pisco de Perú es el aguardiente de uva más antiguo de América. Destilado en la tradición del aguardiente ancestral, el pisco es transparente y no se le añeja.  Según la IWSC (Concurso Internacional de Vinos y Licores), el pisco es una de las 5 tendencias de bebidas espirituosas más importantes del mundo, como se ve en su creciente popularidad en la competencia de 2019.


Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez Releases Publication of “Pisco: its Name, its History”

The English –Language Publication Proves the Appellation of Origin of Pisco Belongs to Peru

pisco name history, gonzalo gutiérrez

Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez announced the publication of his latest work: “Pisco: its Name, its History”, a culmination of research about the true origin of the grape spirit. The crowning achievement scrutinizes etymological, historical and cultural evidence to confirm pisco is from Peru.


By presenting age-old documents, 1700s legal proceedings, and reflections of the grape distillate in the arts, Mr. Gutiérrez’s work shows the historical Peruvian rights to the spirit’s Appellation of Origin. He expressed that sharing his research with a broader English-speaking audience will catalyze the advancement of the Peruvian A.O.


Meg McFarland, translator of the book, stated, “Ambassador Gutiérrez’s analysis is an illuminating game-changer in the realm of the spirits industry. My goal as translator was to help shape English-speaking readers’ understanding of the history, culture, and origin of pisco. Making this information available in more languages is crucial to the growth of the Peruvian spirit worldwide”.


A virtual book launch will be held on June 23rd at 1:00pm EST (7:00pm CSET). The Ambassador will present the main arguments to establish the historical Peruvian origin of pisco. The panel will also include Kami Kenna of PiscoLogía pisco and Bourcard Nesin of Rabobank, who will share their expertise about pisco in the beverage industry.


Click here to join the virtual book presentation:


To purchase a copy of “Pisco: its Name, its History”, follow the link:


About Ambassador Gutiérrez Reinel

Gonzalo Gutierrez is the current ambassador of Peru to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union.  He has also been Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru and Peruvian Ambassador to China and the United Nations in New York. He recently released “Pisco Elqui, The Misleading Name”, an essay revealing a duplicitous trade scheme mounted in the 1930s to circumvent regulations on the use of geographical names to designate spirits in the USA.


About Pisco

Pisco from Peru is the oldest grape spirit of the Americas. Distilled in the tradition of ancestral firewater (eau-de-vie, brandy); pisco is clear and unaged. According to the IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition), pisco is one of the five biggest spirits trends in the world, as seen in its rising popularity in the 2019 competition.

La historia de la vid y el pisco en Perú

Según el historiador Guillermo Toro Lira, la primera vid de América del Sur fue plantada en Lima entre 1539 y 1541 por Hernando de Montenegro, un capitán español. Fue la variedad Listan Prieto, que ahora se conoce en Perú como Negra Criolla, una uva tinta que se cree que se originó en la región de Castilla la Mancha en España. Los colonos españoles elaboraron el primer vino en 1551, convirtiendo al Perú en la primera región productora de vino de América del Sur.


Cuando se elaboró ​​el primer vino en mil quinientos cincuenta y uno, marcó el comienzo de una nueva era enológica en el Nuevo Mundo. Sin embargo, no hubiera sido posible sin la destreza agrícola de los indígenas del Perú, quienes eran expertos en cultivar e irrigar la costa árida. Su experiencia y mano de obra, combinados con el exigente trabajo manual y el conocimiento agrícola del pueblo africano esclavizado, hicieron que el cultivo de la uva fuera un gran éxito en Perú.


A finales del siglo 16 XVI, la popularidad del vino peruano representaba una formidable amenaza para la industria vitivinícola española. En un intento de obstaculizar la producción de vino en Perú, la realeza española impuso altos impuestos, prohibió el vino peruano en sus colonias y prohibió la plantación de nuevas vides en Perú. Sin embargo, no tuvieron éxito hasta mil seiscientos cuarenta y uno, 1641, cuando el rey Felipe el cuarto IV prohibió la importación de vino peruano a España, excluyendo a los viticultores peruanos de uno de los últimos mercados que les quedaban.


En lugar de abandonar sus viñedos, los lugareños comenzaron a destilar su vino. Siguiendo la tradición del Viejo Mundo, llamaron a este destilado “aguardiente de uva”, siguiendo métodos alquímicos de la Edad Media. Finalmente, el nombre cambió a “pisco”.


Con el tiempo, el conocimiento vitivinícola de los españoles se mezcló con las tradiciones agrícolas heredadas de los incas y el pueblo africano esclavizado. Años de prueba y error llevaron a la diversificación y selección de las mejores variedades, la identificación de regiones óptimas para el cultivo de la uva y mejores prácticas de producción. Estos factores, junto con un clima favorable al cultivo de la uva, han permitido que los peruanos elaboran con orgullo su bebida nacional durante cientos de años.


Ahora, ¿qué es el pisco? El pisco es definido por la Denominación de Origen como “el producto obtenido de la destilación de mostos frescos de uvas recién fermentadas”. Si ustedes no conocen el pisco, es posible que no sepan qué son los mostos. El mosto es jugo de uva recién prensada que puede contener algunos hollejos, semillas y posiblemente algunos tallos. Dependiendo de sus preferencias, los maestros destiladores en Perú pueden fermentar el mosto limpio o dejar algunos hollejos, semillas y tallos en el mosto durante la maceración.


La maceración es el proceso de remojo de todos o algunos de los hollejos, semillas y tallos para extraer aromas y sabores y transferirlos al jugo. Según las Normas Técnicas en Perú,, la fermentación puede ocurrir con o sin maceración, o con maceración total o parcial del orujo. Depende de las preferencias del maestro destilador. Sin embargo, el mosto debe separarse del orujo antes de la destilación porque sólo se puede destilar vino (mosto fermentado) en la producción de pisco peruano.


La rica historia del pisco se refleja en las tradiciones realizadas a lo largo de todo el proceso de elaboración del pisco, comenzando con las prácticas agrícolas y espirituales en los viñedos y terminando cuando se consume el pisco. Cubriremos cada detalle de esos procesos en este curso, pero por ahora, hablemos de la cosecha.


La cosecha de uvas de pisco ocurre en verano en Perú, típicamente desde febrero a abril. Las bayas maduras se arrancan de las vides, lo que proporciona al maestro destilador las materias primas necesarias para elaborar el lote perfecto. La uva se despalilla y se prensa y la maceración puede ocurrir o no. Con la ayuda de las  levaduras naturales de la uva , el azúcar se convierte en alcohol y tenemos un  vino listo para la destilación.


Hacer pisco es una demostración del oficio, la habilidad y el conocimiento científico del destilador. Mientras el vino se calienta, hierve, se evapora y luego se condensa convirtiéndose  en pisco a través de un proceso científico, la intuición le dice al destilador cuándo cortar las cabezas de las colas, cómo , regular las temperaturas y tomar otras decisiones muy importantes para obtener un producto de calidad.


Una vez que la destilación ha convertido el vino en pisco, este debe reposar un mínimo de 3 meses en recipientes neutros como acero inoxidable o pohlee eh tee leno polietileno. Esto hace que el pisco sea completamente inalterado y transparente, lo que  permite apreciar plenamente la identidad original de la bebida espirituosa. Tras reposar, se puede embotellar y está listo para su consumo.


El pisco peruano es único porque se destila una sola vez, lo que lo diferencia de otros aguardientes que se destilan más de una vez y se diluyen. Eso significa que un maestro destilador tiene solo una oportunidad de elaborar un pisco excepcional con el nivel de alcohol deseado. Sin embargo, el porcentaje de alcohol debe estar entre 38 y 48%, según la Denominación de Origen en Perú.


Como no se le agrega nada al pisco, eso significa que solo hay un ingrediente en la botella: uvas. Entonces, ¿cuántas uvas hay en una botella? Como promedio, hay unos increíbles 7.5 kilos de uvas en una botella de pisco puro o acholado, los tipos de pisco más comunes. En su pantalla, pueden ver cómo se compara con el vino y los piscos mosto verde. La próxima vez que vayan a la tienda, intenten comprar 7,5 kilos de uvas y tendrán una idea de cuántas uvas son.


En esta breve descripción general del pisco, es posible que hayan escuchado algunas palabras de vocabulario nuevas como “acholado, puro y mosto verde”. En la próxima lección, Kami hablará sobre el significado de esas palabras,

¿El pisco es peruano o chileno?

¿El pisco es peruano o chileno? Este es un tema que se debate acaloradamente en todo el mundo. En la lección anterior, exploramos la evolución de la palabra pisco para comprender el contexto histórico del destilado en Perú.


Debido a que existe evidencia histórica y etimológica que prueba que el pisco se produjo por primera vez en Perú, creemos firmemente que el pisco es peruano. Entonces, para proteger la denominación de origen del pisco en Perú, usaremos el término destilado Chileno en esta lección.


Para más información sobre por qué creemos que el pisco es claramente peruano, le recomendamos que lea Pisco Elqui el Nombre Engañoso, de Gonzalo Gutiérrez. Puede encontrar ese artículo en la sección de recursos para su conveniencia.


A pesar del argumento sobre el origen y la propiedad del pisco, es indiscutible que el pisco peruano y el destilado chileno son muy diferentes. Lo que sigue es una comparación de ambos. Examinaremos sus métodos de producción, las variedades de uva utilizadas, sus zonas de producción y más.


El pisco de Perú se destila una vez para llegar al nivel de alcohol deseado por el destilador/la destiladora. No se permite que se le añade agua durante el proceso y debe tener entre 38% y 48% de alcohol por volumen. El pisco nunca se añeja, sino que se reposa en vasijas neutras y, por lo tanto, siempre es transparente. Por el contrario, el destilado chileno se destila más de una vez y puede diluirse con agua. Debe tener entre 30% y 50% de alcohol por volumen y se permite el añejamiento en barrica.


El pisco se elabora con una o una mezcla de las ocho uvas pisqueras de Perú, que son quebranta, negra criolla, mollar, uvina, torontel, italia, moscatel y albilla.


Hay 13 uvas designadas para su uso en el destilado chileno, aunque por lo general, sólo cinco se usan. Esos cinco son moscatel de alejandria, moscatel rosado, Torontel, Moscatel de Austria y Pedro Ximenez.


El pisco se puede producir en valles costeros  por debajo de los 2000 metros en cualquiera de las cinco regiones productoras de pisco en Perú, mientras que el brandy chileno se produce en cualquiera de las 2 regiones de producción de su país, Atacama y Coquimbo.


El pisco no tiene ningún sistema de clasificación. El brandy chileno sí. El sistema de clasificación del Brandy Chileno se establece por el nivel de alcohol y no por la edad. No es necesario agregar esa información a la etiqueta, pero los productores pueden optar por hacerlo. Pueden revisarlo aquí en la pantalla.


Ahora que tienen más información sobre el pisco peruano y el destilado chileno, incluyendo sus métodos de destilación, variedades de uva, períodos de reposo y más, pueden ver cuán diferentes son.

Gonzalo Gutiérrez: The Denomination of Pisco and Viceregal Trade between Peru and Guatemala 1712-1715-1742

XVIII Century Spanish Frigates

By Gonzalo Gutiérrez

The Captaincy General of Guatemala was created in 1542 and included present-day Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It also extended north to the area of Chiapas in Mexico and to the south to include the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro of present-day Panama.

Unlike other Captaincies General in the Spanish dominions in America that depended on viceroyalties such as Peru or New Spain (Mexico), that of Guatemala was directly dependent on the Council of the Indies in Spain.

During the 16th century, trade was relatively free between the Viceroyalty of Peru and the Captaincy General of Guatemala. Peruvian products transported to Guatemala were highly sought-after in the Central American market, and in return, various Guatemalan “articles of the land” were well received in Peru.

However, in the first decades of the seventeenth century, Spain restricted trade in order to strengthen its commercial monopoly with each of its American colonies. This limitation was detrimental to both Guatemala and Peru; to the former mainly because it was unable to receive Peruvian wines and spirits, and to the latter because it limited, among other goods, the arrival of Nicaraguan pitch, which was essential for the lining of the clay jars used to export beverages and other Peruvian products. It is highly significant that this Order implemented on May 18, 1615, expressly prohibited the import of Peruvian wine into the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

Consequently, prohibition did nothing but fuel smuggling, especially of products that arrived from Asia to Mexico through the “La Nao de la China”. The merchandise was taken by land to Realejo in the Captaincy General of Guatemala and then clandestinely shipped and smuggled to Peru. Otherwise it was surreptitiously loaded onto small ships that left the Mexican port of Huatulco bound for Callao, the main port in Lima.

Prohibition proved to be detrimental to ports that relied on Peruvian goods, such as La Santísima Trinidad de Sonsonate or Acajutla (in present-day El Salvador) and Realejo (in modern Nicaragua). In 1676, only two ships from Peru were allowed entry in order to purchase indigo, cocoa and pitch.

Due to Spain’s inability to adequately supply the Central American Captaincy General and the constant grievances of the Guatemalan authorities, merchants and citizens, a Royal Decree was issued on May 21, 1685 that allowed for free trade of wines and other products from Peru for three years. The mandate stipulated that the free trade order could be extended once its repercussions had been studied.

However, it imposed many restrictions, such as limiting Peruvian exports to 200,000 ducats, forcing merchants to buy goods in Guatemala and imposing a trade embargo of Chinese textiles and cocoa from Guayaquil. It also introduced compulsory customs duties.

The Decree remained in force and was renewed again in July 1695, keeping the prohibition of cocoa’s trade from Guayaquil, but permitting wines, spirits, oil and almonds to arrive from Peru to the ports of Sonsonate and Realejo.

Manuel Moreyra Paz Soldan reported that between 1701 and 1704, the main products exported from Peru to Sonsonate and Realejo were bundles of Peruvian clothing, spirit, wine and oil clay jars, pouches of raisins, sacks of saltpeter and gunpowder and pounds of refined copper.

At the beginning of the 18th century, a triangular trade system facilitated the movement of Peruvian goods. Products sent from Lima to Acapulco were re-embarked or transferred by the same ship to the ports of Sonsonate and Realejo in the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

That was the case of the frigate called “Our Lady of Solitude” that arrived from Callao to Mexico at the end of 1712. After arriving in Acapulco, the ship and its entire cargo were auctioned off. A gentleman named Juan de Recalde won the bid.

Shortly after, de Recalde appeared before the Acapulco port authorities to obtain authorization to set sail for Guatemala with the cargo. His request was accepted on November 19, 1712. In the “aprezio” or the appraisal of the value of the cargo and the duties on each product, he declared:

“… at forty five reals each case

of snuff that weighs one hundred and

thirty net pounds, that is two and a half pounds (each)

For the consumption of the sacks of snuff,

one hundred pesos per pair,

for each small bale of shirts, eight pesos

the Barros case four pesos

a small case of mills

twenty-four pesos the barrel of oak fillings

at thirty pesos each pack of forty reals

ten pesos for each clay jar of pisco spirit

and at the aforementioned prices there are one

hundred and sixty-five barrels and sack of powders

totaling six thousand

seven hundred pesos and a tomin… “


Further down, in the final calculation of the duties that the Master of the ship “Our Lady of Solitude” owed upon departure from Acapulco, it showed:

“…two barrels of oak filling sixty pesos

the small bale of shirts one hundred pesos

the four Barros cases at two pesos, correction:

thirty-two pesos
seventy-two pieces of baize

two thousand one hundred and sixty pesos

the seventy clay jars of pisco spirit seven hundred


and all its value and import is nine thousand seven

hundred and fifty-five pesos and one real and that

because of having the exit rights charged at this port at

the rate of three and a half percent one hundred and

forty-five pesos and three reales that we paid, which

can be verified by the Master of the Royal cashier … “


Subsequently, on December 22, 1712, Juan de Recalde declared in another section of the ship’s register:

“… has on board in the frigate’s hold, narrow and well conditioned for it, seventy clay jars of Pisco spirit with the marks that belong to Mr. Joseph Romero Soriano, for whose fiscal responsibility and risk they were, and I, the Master of the ship, promise to God I will deliver the goods of said frigate to the Ports referred to once their unloading and the registration is deemed to have been fulfilled, will give and deliver said products to said Don Joseph Romero or to whom his power and cause would have to which fulfillment I am bound to comes to be seen. .. “

The information from the registry of “Our Lady of Solitude” was presented to the port authorities in Sonsonate in the Captaincy General of Guatemala upon arrival. The landing permit was finally delivered at the port on March 2, 1713. Later, the Master, Juan de Recalde, obtained a new permit to return the ship to Peru loaded with “goods and fruits of the earth” on March 21, 1713.

The registries of the “Our Lady of Solitude” in Acapulco in 1712 and Sonsonate in 1713 provide incontrovertible proof that the expressions “pisco spirit” and “pisco spirit clay jars” commonly referred to the distilled beverage from Peru exported to the ports of Mexico and Central America in the first decades of the 18th century. They are the first known references to the denomination of the premium Peruvian product outside Peru.

Equally significant, two years later in 1715, the “Sacred Family” ship arrived in Sonsonate from Peru. There were 2,127 jars of wine and 400 jars of spirit in the hold. The duties owed on the jars of alcoholic beverages would be the source of a dispute, since most were property of the Society of Jesus Jesuit Order, and therefore were exempt from payment. A resolution was reached and duties were charged on only 100 jars of wine and 150 jars of spirit, which had arrived without registration, exempting those that were consigned for the religious order.

It is crucial to highlight how the captain, Mr. Luis Carrillo de Córdova, described the origin of the drinks in the Register of the “Sacred Family”:

“… Two hundred and fifty jars of brandy were consigned to me by the Reverend Father Pedro de Castro of the Society of Jesus, Procurator General of the College of San Pablo, founded in the city of Lima. This college owns estates in the Pisco Valley from that Kingdom whose portions of wine and spirit came in Items of the Registry of said Frigate, where there are also certifications of not having paid duties … “

This record from 1715 clearly exemplifies that the origin of the spirit exported by the Society of Jesus was from the Pisco Valley, and the spirit was highly demanded in the Central American market. These jars may been part of the production of the “San Juan Bautista de Cóndor” farm, owned by the Jesuits in the Pisco Valley, which produced the significant sum of 326,415 clay jars of pisco spirit between 1707 and 1767.

Some decades later, in August 1742, the “Our Lady of the Rosary and Blessed Souls” ship arrived at the Central American port of Realejo. The registry stated that the ship’s captain, Bartolomé Hernández Romero, received an order to transport the following goods to Realejo from a resident of Panama, Mr. Jacinto de Pasos Porta, who sent:

Another case of twenty hats from Lima, two bales of snuff from

Havana, each of 30 pounds, 8 dozen knives; 20 pounds of pepper,

and 4 small boxes of white thread, 16 clay jars of pisco, 6 of olives and 10 of wine

Once again, these colonial documents only confirm the Peruvian origin of the distilled spirit known as pisco, which was clearly recognized and demanded in Central America at the beginning of the 18th century. As has been pointed out, they are the first known references to the denomination of the Peruvian beverage known as “pisco spirit” or directly as “pisco” and they precede the writings of the Audiencia of Lima in 1729, when there was a dispute over the price of the “Pisco spirit jars” three years earlier, in 1726.

Brussels, March 2021

Ambassador Gutiérrez Announces Publication of ‘The Denomination of Pisco and Viceregal Trade between Peru and Guatemala, 1712-1715-1742

Gonzalo Gutierrez

Documenting Earlier Evidence of the Use of the Word “Pisco” as the Peruvian Clear Spirit, the Article Further Reinforces that the A.O. of Pisco Belongs to Peru

Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez presents new evidence about the origins of Pisco in “The Denomination of Pisco and Viceregal Trade between Peru and Guatemala, 1712-1715-1742”. In this historically important article, the Ambassador examines trade documents from 1712 that demonstrate the word “Pisco” referred to the clear spirit at least 17 years earlier than originally believed. “Based on my past research, the first reference to pisco as a spirit was presumed to be from 1729. However, this recent discovery proves that the pisco eau-de-vie was a commodity shipped from Peru to Mexico and Central America as early as 1712. This remarkable and exciting breakthrough could be the tip of the iceberg, as there are likely more trade documents preceding 1712”.


The registry of the “Our Lady of Solitude” ship in 1712 in Acapulco indisputably proves that the expressions “pisco spirit” and “clay jars of Pisco” were used to describe the beverage from Peru at the beginning of the 18th century. This is the first known use of the appellation in the world. Pepe Moquillaza, a brand ambassador for Marca Pisco in Peru, stated: “The topynomic reference required for an A.O. comes from the Quechua word “pishku”. Then the pisco A.O. solidified through its continued use in commerce, like all the other historical appellations in the world, such as cognac and champagne. That is, demand for a product begins to attribute quality to a product from a place of origin. The fact that the high quality spirit was demanded from the port of Pisco even earlier than believed, unequivocally proves that the D.O. of Pisco belongs to Peru”.

The article can be found at the following link:


About Ambassador Gutiérrez Reinel

Gonzalo Gutierrez is the current ambassador of Peru in Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. He has also been the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Peru and the Peruvian Ambassador in China and for the United Nations. He recently released “The Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui”, an essay revealing a trade scheme mounted to circumvent regulations on the use of geographical names to designate spirits.

About Pisco

Pisco from Peru is the oldest grape spirit of the Americas. Distilled in the tradition of ancestral spirts (eau-de-vie), it is clear and unaged. According to the IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition), pisco is one of the 5 biggest spirits trends in the world, as seen in its rising popularity in the 2019 competition.




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