The Uruguay Center wine region is located in south-central Uruguay. It covers the departments of Durazno, Florida and Lavalleja. The region is situated in close proximity to the country's capital city, Montevideo and encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, including rolling hills, valleys, and coastal areas.
One of the distinguishing features of the Uruguay Centro wine region is its proximity to the Río de la Plata estuary. This large body of water, which acts as the border between Uruguay and Argentina, has a significant impact on the region's climate and viticulture. It helps to create a unique microclimate, characterized by cool breezes and increased humidity, which are favorable for grape cultivation.
According to an INAVI report, in 2022, there were 11 vineyards in this region, distributed as follows:
The predominant grape variety grown in Uruguay Centro is Tannat, which has found a particularly favorable home in Uruguay. Tannat is known for producing robust, full-bodied red wines with rich tannins and dark fruit flavors. Other grape varieties grown in the region include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Overall, the Uruguay Centro wine region offers a combination of favorable climate, diverse soils, and maritime influence, creating an ideal terroir for grape cultivation. These conditions contribute to the production of high-quality wines that showcase the unique character and flavors of the region.
The Center wine region is located in south-central Uruguay. It encompasses the departments of Durazno, Florida and Lavalleja.
The terroir of Uruguay Centro is influenced by several key factors. The region benefits from a temperate climate, with mild summers and relatively cool winters. The region receives many hours of sunshine annually. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean provides a maritime influence, moderating temperatures and contributing to the overall freshness of the wines.
The soil composition in Uruguay Centro is varied, with a mix of clay, limestone, granite, sand and gravel. These soils have great drainage properties, allowing for optimal vine growth and root development. The clay content also helps to retain water during drier periods, ensuring a steady supply of moisture to the vines.
Because the wine industry in Uruguay is relatively young, the Center region does not yet have regional sustainability programs. However, it does receive incentives from the Sustainable Viticulture Program, developed by the National Institute of Viticulture (INAVI). This program seeks to guarantee both the origin and traceability of the grapes used for wine production, to ensure that all grapes are produced using sustainable practices.
Among the practices assessed by this program are:
It should be clarified that this program also certifies wineries, although it only assesses whether or not grapes from certified vineyards are used.
Most Planted Red Grapes Varieties: Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon
Most Planted White Grapes Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
The Center region stands out especially for the production of red wines, but the flagship wines are undoubtedly Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tannat is consumed mainly as a single varietal wine, both young and barrel-aged. The younger wines have a more intense color, as well as more marked tannins and intense fruity aromas, while the aged wines have softer tannins, and are therefore more elegant. The versatility of this wine makes it to this day one of the most chosen red wines in Uruguay.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a late variety, and for that reason it thrives especially in the Durazno department. The wines produced with this variety have a flavor profile in which notes of black currant, black cherry or even pepper stand out in the more complex wines.
The Center wine region did not have the same level of development in the 4 departments that comprise it (Durazno, Florida, Lavalleja and Treinta y Tres). In fact, during the period between 1898 and 1930, of the four departments, the only one that had a significant relevance for Uruguayan viticulture was Florida, a department that to this day continues to be key for the region.
This wine region had a great growth between 1898 and 1930, due to the arrival of the railroad to the region, which connected the town of Nico Perez, located in Florida, with the department of Durazno. As a result, in 1898 the region had a planted area of 183 hectares of vineyards, of which Florida represented 135 hectares, in 1930 that number reached 366 hectares.
Through the years, the region managed to have a constant development, however Durazno was gaining more and more preponderance over the other departments, because it has ideal climatic conditions for a better ripening of the grapes. This meant that, in 2022, Durazno was the department with the largest wine-growing area in the Center region (19 ha) followed by Florida (16 ha).