By Alejandro Málaga Núñez-Zeballos
Academia Peruana del Pisco, Arequipa.
Translated by Katrina Heimark
The origin of the commercialization of wine in Arequipa (16th Century)
The presence of wine in Arequipa was initially in the wineskins that the first Spanish carried through the Chili River Valley in 1535. Later
wine was present throughout the founding of Arequipa, during the mass and the toast of honor. It was present as well in the grid outlining ceremony and the installation of the pillories; and much later in each of the political and religious authorities’ homes, as well as the homes of the colonists, artisans and even chiefs.
Civil wars between the conquistadors disrupted the city during the first twenty years after its founding. Hikes in prices and the interruption of the flow of merchandise from the Iberian Peninsula to the ports of Quilca and Chule happened often during those years. The principal families of the city possessed apple, orange, grape and quince orchards on the left bank of the river; all of which were to be consumed as fruits. The lack of wine was made up for in jugs brought from Andalucia and Castilla, but which were very costly.
On January 1, 1546, a ship arrived to Quilca with merchandise such as different quality fabrics, shirts, breeches, shoes, birds, pigs, horses, etc, and principally, jugs of wine and oil, which were carried from the coast to the city of Arequipa by Yanacona Indians, who were sent by Yarabaha and Chilque Chiefs. It seems that this was not a good idea, because on March 13, the civil council revoked the ordinance, and prohibited the sale of wine without a previous measure. They also established that blacks could not “have” more than one Indian woman. Seven months later, the authority reconsidered and ordered that Indians must carry all merchandise, and that merchants must pay chiefs according to the established ordinances.
At the beginning of the year 1547, Gonzalo Pizarro was the governor and his Lieutenant Capitan in Arequipa, Juan de Silveira, ordered “that merchants moderate themselves in the sale of wine, which has increased in price. They must be mandated to lower the price. The most expensive, of 20 pesos, is not to be sold at a higher price, under penalty of 200 gold pesos, half for His Majesty’s coffers, and the other half for the judge who emits the sentence.
At the end of the decade, there were bars that served food and wine to citizens and travelers, but none were regulated by tariffs. Thus, the prices of wine were very different, and in some cases, wines were very expensive and generated complaints from citizens, or they were very cheap and “often were sold to slaves, and for watching blacks dance taquies (frenetic dances) during their parties. Often some blacks killed each other and did some very ugly things while in the service of God.” Thus, the authorities ordered that no one sell wine to slaves if they didn’t have an identity card mentioning their owner: “on pain of 10 gold pesos; let it be made public that no slave will dance taquies in any part of the city, nor outside of the city, and if they do, the sheriff will seize them and they will be given 100 lashes while tied to the pillory.” Also, for the first time a price was established for the wayside inns of the cities of Vítor, Siguas, Camaná, Ocoña, Atico, Atiquipa, Acarí, Chule, Chiguata, y Quilca; a quartile (half liter) of white wine was to cost 6 tomines, and a quartile of red wine 1 peso and 2 tomines.
Clearly, the disposition protected the wine-producing areas because they were the first plantings to be used for wine production. Wine commerce during the first two decades after the founding of Arequipa were initially important; later merchants took notice of their high profitability and acquired land to become wine producers.
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