It extends along the northern end of the Uruguay River, covering the departments of Artigas, Paysandú and Salto.
According to statistics provided by INAVI, in 2022, the region had 30 vineyards. The department with the most vineyards was Paysandú, with 17 vineyards distributed over 108 hectares. On the other hand, the department with the fewest vineyards was Artigas, with only one vineyard covering 2 hectares.
The North Litoral wine region extends along the northern end of the Uruguay River, and emcompasses the departments of Artigas, Paysandú and Salto
Litoral Norte enjoys a temperate climate. This is due to the influence of the Uruguay River, which acts as a temperature moderator.
The soils in the Litoral Norte wine region are characterized by good depth and are composed of sandstone, while the lower layer is basalt.
Because the wine industry in Uruguay is relatively young, the Litoral Norte region does not yet have regional sustainability programs. However, it does receive incentives from a national program focused on the production of certified grapes: 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: Ugni Blanc
The signature wines of the region are Tannat and Ugni Blanc
In the case of Tannat, it is the most popular red wine in Uruguay, and is consumed mainly as a single varietal. While the younger examples have an intense violet color, with marked tannins and a fruitier aromatic profile, this type of wine also ages very well. Thus, it is possible to achieve wines with softer tannins, and much more elegant.
On the other hand, Ugni Blanc wines are very productive not only because the grapes have a high yield, but also because they have a flavor and aroma profile very reminiscent of lemon or grapefruit. In addition, their moderate to high acidity level makes Ugni Blanc wines very refreshing.
The Northern Litoral has a very interesting history of wine production. It all began at the end of the 19th century, when the family of the French-basque Pascual Harriague settled in what is now known as the region of San Antonio Chico, in Salto. There, Harriague introduced the first varieties of what today is one of the key varieties for wine production in Uruguay: Tannat.
However, in 1898 the phylloxera plague hit Uruguay's wine industry hard, and of course the Litoral Norte region was no exception. However, after years of hard work, the region managed to recover thanks to the introduction of American varieties resistant to phylloxera. This allowed the region to continue to develop to this day, always with the Tannat variety as its flagship, but also with other varieties very present, such as the Merlot grape, which in 2021 in Paysandú represented 2.1% of the total cultivated area in Uruguay.