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

pesos

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: https://en.calameo.com/read/00648952507bc67e2380e

 

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.

 

 

 

Embajador Gutiérrez publica “La denominación de pisco y comercio virreinal entre Perú y Guatemala, 1712-1715-1742”

Al documentar nueva evidencia del uso de la palabra “pisco” para describir el aguardiente peruano, el artículo refuerza que la A.O. de Pisco le pertenece al Perú

El Embajador Gonzalo Gutiérrez presentó nueva evidencia sobre los orígenes del pisco en “La denominación de Pisco y el comercio virreinal entre Perú y Guatemala, 1712-1715-1742”. En este artículo históricamente importante, el Embajador examina documentos comerciales de 1712 que demuestran que la palabra “Pisco” se refería a la bebida espirituosa al menos 17 años antes de lo que originalmente se creía. “Se ha documentado que la primera referencia peruana encontrada hasta el momento de la denominación pisco para el aguardiente data de 1729. Sin embargo, este nuevo descubrimiento prueba que el eau-de-vie de Perú era un producto que se enviaba desde el Perú a México y América Central con la denominación pisco desde los primeros años del siglo XVIII. Este avance notable podría ser la punta del iceberg, ya que es probable que haya más documentos comerciales anteriores a 1712 ”.

El registro de la nave “Nuestra Señora de la Soledad” en 1712 en Acapulco prueba indiscutiblemente que las expresiones “aguardiente de pisco” y “botijas de Pisco” fueron utilizadas para describir la bebida del Perú a principios del siglo XVIII. Este es el primer uso ubicado hasta el momento de la denominación pisco para identificar el aguardiente peruano en el mundo. Pepe Moquillaza, embajador de Marca Perú para el pisco, afirmó: “La referencia toponímica requerida para una A.O. proviene de la palabra quechua “pishku”. Luego la A.O. de Pisco se solidificó a través de su uso continuo durante siglos de comercio, como todas las demás denominaciones históricas del mundo, como el cognac y el champagne. Es decir, la demanda de un producto comienza a atribuir calidad a un producto desde un lugar de origen. El hecho de que el aguardiente de alta calidad con el nombre de pisco fuera exportado con esa denominación desde el Perú, incluso antes de lo que se creía, prueba fehacientemente que la apelación del pisco le pertenece al Perú

El artículo se puede encontrar en el siguiente enlace: https://www.calameo.com/read/006489525530f64ea23e4

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 en Perú y Embajador del Perú en China y ante las Naciones Unidas. Recientemente publicó “Pisco Elqui, el nombre engañoso”, un ensayo que revela un esquema comercial montado para eludir las regulaciones sobre el uso de nombres geográficos para designar bebidas espirituosas.

 

Sobre el Pisco

El pisco del Perú es el aguardiente de uva más antiguo de las Américas. Destilado en la tradición de la Edad Media, es una bebida transparente porque no se le añeja. Según el IWSC (Concurso Internacional de Vinos y Destilados), el pisco es una de las 5 tendencias de destilados más importantes del mundo, como se ve en su creciente popularidad en la competencia de 2019.

English Translation of Revelatory Research about Pisco by Ambassador Gutiérrez Reinel is released

Press Release

 

“The Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui” Provides Irrefutable Evidence of the Peruvian Origins of Pisco

Meg McFarland announces the release of the English translation of the article “The Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui”. This comprehensive work by Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez Reinel covers the Peruvian origins of pisco and the change of name of a town in Chile in the 1930s. Its aim is to increase awareness of the historical background and cultural diversity of pisco from Peru, “I am delighted to present this work in English about the origins of pisco to the international community, not only to clarify misconceptions, but also to spread the word about the rich history and cultural heritage of Peru’s national beverage”, said Gutiérrez.

By analyzing various geographical, cartographic, legal and historical documents, “The Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui”, refutes controversial claims made about the origins of pisco by Chilean historians. Gutiérrez confirms that the town of “La Unión”, the supposed sociocultural hub of the so-called Chilean pisco culture, was swiftly renamed to “Pisco-Elqui” in 1936 to circumvent regulations on the use of geographical names to designate spirits in the US. “The findings corroborate that the name change of the town “La Unión” was not a response to a sociocultural evolution, as stated by various researchers, but rather to a mala fide trade scheme. On the other hand, the word “pisco” existed in Peru for many years before the arrival of the Europeans to America in the XV century, undergoing an etymological transformation from the word “bird” to eventually refer to the clear spirit”, said the renowned pisco researcher.

The Ambassador has produced many articles on the historical and cultural significance of pisco from Peru, but this announcement marks the first release of a version in English. “It was an honor to work side by side with Ambassador Gutiérrez on this translation project of the most epochal range and quality,” says Meg McFarland, translator of “The Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui”. She continues, “Providing this valuable information in English will help reach a greater pool of readers about the origins and history of pisco”.

The article can be found at the following link:

Pisco Certificate Course-Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui

Misleading Name of Pisco Elqui

 

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. For a long time he has researched and published about the historical and evidence of the Peruvian origins of pisco. He will soon release a book in English on the subject.

 

About Pisco

Pisco from Peru is the oldest grape brandy of the Americas. Distilled in the tradition of ancestral firewater (eau-de-vie, brandy), pisco is a clear, unaged spirit made from 100% grapes. According to the IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition), pisco is one of the 5 biggest spirits trends in the world, as seen in the rising popularity of the spirit in the 2019 competition.

¿Cómo se hace el pisco peruano?

En esta entrada de blog, explicaremos la primera parte del proceso de producción de pisco: la cosecha y la fermentación.

 

 

         Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Buscamos alcanzar una madurez fisiológica completa en las uvas para decidir la fecha de cosecha. Cuando los niveles de Brix llegan a 23°-26° y la fruta tiene un acidez de 3.4PH (gracias a la brisa del Océano Pacífico), nuestras uvas están listas para cosechar, sujeta a que los otros factores estén maduros también (hollejos, semillas y raspones).

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Flor y Samuel, quienes nos ayudan a cuidar las uvas, juntan a los miembros de su familia en preparación para la cosecha. Con un pronóstico del tiempo de 28°C y una humedad de 69%, va a ser un día caluroso y bochornoso. Para evitar el calor, empezamos a cosechar a las 5:00 de la mañana.

 

 

 

 

        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

Para mantener la tradición, cosechamos a mano. Eso nos permite seleccionar cada uva que entra en nuestro pisco.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

Se despalillan las uvas

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

y estrujamos el jugo con los pies para extraer el jugo sin romper las semillas que pueden dar un sabor amargo a nuestro jugo.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

Después realizamos un prensado suave para separar el mosto de las partes sólidas

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

Nati le pone un porcentaje menor de cáscaras al jugo, para asegurar que las levaduras nativas de Azpitia estén presentes. Para lograr una fermentación optima utilizamos las levaduras nativas proveniente de nuestras uvas.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

En 7-10 días, el jugo se fermenta y el vino está listo para la destilación, que explicaremos en la siguiente entrada de blog.

 

Toast to Peru’s national hero with a tasty Peruvian pisco cocktail!

pisco cocktail, pisco, peruvian pisco, best pisco, pisco peru, san martin cocktail, craft pisco, piscologia, quebranta, acholado, cocktail recipe

 

 

In Peru, it is difficult not to stumble upon something associated with José de San Martín. From streets to provinces to statues to schools, this man’s legacy is ubiquitous. Born in Argentina, José de San Martín was a military leader who fought to liberate Argentina, Chile and Peru. However, he was notable not only for his efforts to gain independence in South America. San Martín also fought to abolish slavery, advocated for indigenous people and enacted freedom of speech in Peru.

 

José de San Martín first liberated Argentina and Chile from royalist rule. He then traveled to Peru to do the same. His efforts were successful; Peru’s independence was declared on July 28th, 1821. To this day, Peruvians celebrate Independence Day with copious amounts of pisco. Now they can add PiscoLogía’s San Martín cocktail to their repertoire.

 

Peru’s national hero died in France at the age of 72, shortly after hearing the news of Argentina’s victory against the Anglo-French blockade. To note this historical fact, Kami added a French twist to this cocktail with Chartreuse and Dubbonet.

 

Created by the master Kami Kenna, we present the San Martín cocktail to you:

 

 

San Martín, Protector of Peru 

 

2 oz Pisco Acholado

1 oz Dubonnet

Bar Spoon of Yellow Chartreuse

Garnish with grapefruit peel

Shaken, served up

 

 

 

 

 

Is pisco expensive? Ask the grapes!

pisco grapes, acholado, quebranta, pisco, peruvian pisco, piscologia, best pisco, uvas pisqueras

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

What makes a bottle of liquor expensive? Where does Peruvian pisco fall on the pricing scale of spirits? Let’s discuss why Peruvian pisco is a premium spirit and how its price reflects the quality and care of what goes into every bottle.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

The price of a bottle of liquor is influenced by its distillation methods, aging times, quality of ingredients, the labor involved in the production process and other factors. The higher the quality of ingredients or the more labor involved in making it, the more expensive it will be. For example, a meticulous distiller could use 17 pounds of potatoes to make one bottle of premium vodka. A cheaper brand might use significantly less potatoes, potatoes of lower quality or sloppy distillation methods. In other words, many factors influence price, but as a general rule, the more invested by the producers when crafting the product, the more it will cost at the liquor store.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

Now, why is Peruvian pisco on the higher end of the scale in terms of price? The answer comes down to grapes; there are a lot of grapes in one bottle of pisco. On average, there are approximately 7.5 kilos (about 16.5 pounds) of grapes per bottle of pisco puro or pisco acholado. To make a mosto verde, you need an average about 15 kilos (33 pounds), double the amount of a regular bottle of pisco.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

To explain this further, we made the chart below. You can see how Peruvian pisco compares to wine with regard to grapes per bottle. These are averages, as cluster size, grape size and grapevine yield vary widely between vineyards.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

Per bottle of:
Weight of grapes Clusters Grapes # of grapevines
Wine 1.5 kilos / 3.3 lbs 10 700 1
Acholado o puro 7.5 kilos / 16.5 lbs 50 3,500 almost 4
Mosto verde 15 kilos / 33 lbs 100 7,000 7.5

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

As evident in the chart, a bottle of regular pisco has more than 3,500 grapes in it, while a mosto verde requires roughly double that amount. That’s 7,000 grapes in one bottle of liquor!

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

In Azpitia, we get an average of 2 kilos of grapes per plant. This means that one bottle of pisco puro or pisco acholado uses the fruit from almost 4 entire grape vines. Mosto verde pisco uses all the fruit from 7.5 grape vines.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

In addition to the sheer amount of fruit that goes into one bottle, one should also consider what’s required to produce healthy plants. Viticulture is arduous work. Grape vines must be carefully tended to for an entire year before the fruit can be picked. When you add in factors like hand-harvesting & hand-pruning, growing grapes can be even more expensive and time consuming.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

We hope the next you sip a PiscoLogía cocktail, you will have a deeper understanding of what goes into every bottle. Besides thousands of grapes, there are many factors that make Peruvian pisco premium. The taste and quality of our final product reflect its price, a quintessential high-end spirit.

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

To make these estimations, we consulted the following source:

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

Piscologia is Peruvian Pisco

Gerling, Chris. “Conversion Factors: From Vineyard to Bottle.” Conversion Factors: From Vineyard to Bottle | Viticulture and Enology, 8 Dec. 2011, grapesandwine.cals.cornell.edu/newsletters/appellation-cornell/2011-newsletters/issue-8/conversion-factors-vineyard-bottle/.

PiscoLogía: The Craft of Batch Distillation

copper pot still, how to make pisco, peruvian pisco, piscologia, distilling

Our 300L Copper Pot still

 

Fermentation is now complete, which means native yeasts have converted our sugary Quebranta and Italia grape juice to alcohol, leaving us with tanks of unaged wine. Soon Nati will start distilling this wine in our 300L copper pot still. PiscoLogía is made using batch distillation, which allows for greater flexibility and promotes Nati’s artistic expression through pisco-making.

 

There are generally two types of distillation used to create alcoholic beverages: batch and continuous. Continuous distillation is an efficient method of making large quantities of liquor with uniform flavor. On the contrary, batch distillation is more versatile. We believe it allows the consumer to appreciate the true skill of the distiller.

 

In addition, distilling in small quantities allows us to adhere to traditions that have existed for thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered the first artifacts associated with batch distillation believed to be dated over a span of 3,000 years from “the end of the fifth millennium BC to the end of the second millennium BC”. (Belgiorno 21). Using a method that has been perfected over the course of several millennia provides us great satisfaction. It also gives us more flexibility to create an artisan product. Every single batch of pisco that we make is unique. Continuous distillation gives you a consistent product, but consistency isn’t something we strive for when crafting our pisco. We want each and every batch to show Nati’s distilling skills, to reflect the terroir of our vineyards and the characteristics of harvest that year.

 

So, how does batch distillation work? Remember, Peruvian pisco is distilled only one time, which means Nati has only one chance to create an exceptional pisco at the desired proof . She first loads our copper pot still with wine made from our estate-grown grapes. The still is then heated until the wine boils at a temperature of 78.4 °C/173.12 °F (This is a lower boiling point than water, so the alcohol evaporates faster than water). The vapors travel up the neck at the top of our still, down the lyne arm and into the condenser, where they cool. As all experienced distillers do, Nati separates methanol and other impurities during this process by removing the initial and final condensed liquid (heads and tails). The final result is a pure, delicious Peruvian pisco.

 

 

 

Sources:

Belgiorno, Maria. “Experimental Archaeology.” BEHIND DISTILLATION EXPERIMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY , edited by Antonio De Strobel, De Strobel Publisher, 2018.

 

“Pot Still.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Feb. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_still.

PiscoLogia from Harvest to fermentation- A photo journey

 

         Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Brix levels have reached 23° and our grapes have ripened to perfection, thanks to the balmy Peruvian sun. The fruit has an acidity of 3.4PH because of the cooling effect of the evening Pacific Ocean breeze. It’s time for harvest.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Flor and Samuel, who help care for our grapes, gather their family members in preparation for harvest. With an expected high of 28°C/82° F and humidity of 69% in Azpitia today, it will be sultry. To avoid the heat, we start picking grapes at 5:00AM, when the average temperature is 20°C/68° F.

 

 

 

 

        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

To maintain tradition, we harvest by hand. That allows us to hand-select each and every grape that goes into our pisco.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

The grapes are then destemmed

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

and then crushed by foot, in order to extract the juice, but not crush the seeds that could add bitterness to the juice.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

A secondary crush then extracts the juice that remains between the flesh and the skin of the grapes.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

Nati throws some skins back into the juice, just to ensure Azpitia’s natural yeasts are present.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

In 7 to 10 days, the yeasts work their magic, the juice ferments and the wine is ready for distillation.

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