sábado, 30 de agosto de 2014

In the land of Pisco... The Five Pisco Regions: Ica


History of the Grape Harvest Festival in Ica

March is the time of year in which the grape harvest takes place in
 Ica. The harvest consists of removing the fruits, which throughout the summer months have delighted visitors to the region, from their grape vines. Whether the grape is the Italia, Moscatel, or Quebranta variety, it has left its lovely flavor on the tongues of many. However, the moment arrives in which the juice from these grapes will be used to make the wines and Piscos which have brought fame to our city. It is then when the owners and workers in these large farms begin the harvest, which is celebrated with dances, pageants and allegorical cars that are decorated with different themes from Ica and in which the different beauty queens from the different districts of Ica ride. National institutions, along with the Ica Grape Harvest Beauty Queen pass through the principal streets of the city to the sounds of applause and approval.

The harvest in Ica is a traditional activity. It goes back to the dawn of the colonization and the first plantings of the grape vine in the sunny and fertile valleys of Ica. Its thousand-year-old roots go back to the pre-Incan and Incan celebrations of the corn harvest that also flourished in this region.

The harvest is profoundly linked to the people of the region of Ica and is inseparable from their social and cultural heritage.

The harvest was celebrated with great jubilation during the good harvest years throughout the valley, in every farm or community in which the precious wines or the incomparable Pisco was produced. The celebration was preceded by the entire armamentarium of folkloric traditions, whose fundamental pieces are the harvest itself, as well as the gathering of the fruits by the pickers, the crushing of the grapes in typical presses, and the tasting of the “cachina” (the juice made from grapes or grape must which has been fermented for only seven days. It is removed from the fermentation process in order to be tasted, but only during the Grape Harvest Festival.) subsequently followed by eating traditional “chicharrones.”

The traditional grape stomping is given a multicolor and happy feel as the “stompers” move, under the command of the foreman, to the rhythm of drums and traditional musical groups that play songs about the harvest until very late at night. But over the last 50 years, increased and improved communication has triggered the constant migration of workers from the country to the city. These workers in turn have been replaced by farmers from other villages and farms, and these traditions might have been lost forever. However, the idea to save these traditions was started with the organization of these harvest festivals in order to continue a celebration that has so much meaning for the people of this region, as well as on a national level.

 So it was that in December of 1958, the newspaper “La Voz de Ica,” launched the idea of the celebration, which was adopted by the Junior Chamber of Ica who subsequently organized the first National Grape Harvest Festival.

Years later due to the growing magnitude and success of this Festival due to the initiative taken by the Ica Lions Club, the festival became international in 1965, and remains so today.
In 1974 the Wine Harvest Festival was moved from the street where it had originally taken place (Av. Matias Manzanilla) to the Park of Recreation and Infant Culture, created by Senator César Elías Gonzáles, where it became established definitively. The president of this festival was Dr. Raúl Sotil Galindo.

Currently, the Provincial Council of Ica, via the Festival’s organizational committee, believes that these events, due to their importance and unique nature, should be considered a key aspect for tourists, both domestic and foreign, and thus can generate even more resources that the region today requires.

Translated by Katrina Heimark


miércoles, 13 de agosto de 2014

In the land of Pisco... The Five Pisco Regions: Moquegua


Touristic Circuit: the Moquegua Pisco Route

Translated by Katrina Heimark

One of the best places, whether in Peru or around the world, where  Pisco is produced is Moquegua. In the charming climate of the Moquegua Valley, magical vines are grown in the extensive open country. In this valley, you can discover some of the antique colonial bodegas where the best Vine Reserves are located, which are what make this touristic route so attractive on a national and international level.

Norvill Bodega
Located at 1370 Ayacucho St. and founded by Nolberto Villegas Talavera, creator of the Norvill brand that has products such as pure Pisco, Italia, Acholado and Mosto Verde Piscos, cognac (aged in oak casks), Anisado (a brandy aged with anis flavor) and port.

Susc. Valdivia Bodega
Located at Escapalaque Farm about 1km outside Moquegua, this farm produces prestigious Italia Piscos, and a high quality Anisado.

Moquegua has prodigious land for the cultivation of the “wine varieties” brought over by the Conquistadors. The Escapalaque farm, one of the first thirty to be planted, is the location of Camilo Valdivia’s bodega, and is the basis for the development of a modernized production that prioritizes quality under the slogan “because our tradition is an obligation.”

El Mocho Bodega
The name of this bodega comes from the term of endearment given to great-grandfather Don Antonio Salas, and is also known as “El Cuadrante” Farm. It is the property of Mr. Tomás Salas Alarcón and his family, and is located about 5km outside Moquegua. They put dedication, effort and quality and above all, the flavor of their lands into their Piscos, wines, anisado, and sweet wines known as mistela. Their Pisco has received prestige on a regional and national level.

 Veléz Bodega
Located in the midst of beautiful landscapes of the Ocollita agricultural valley, in the middle of an impressive verdant grove, this bodega is the property of Don Mario Veléz Calderón, who produces a very high quality Pisco Veléz and dry wines.

San José Bodega
Located about 1.3 km from the Chimba Alta farm (via the Rayo landscapes), the bodega has colonial infrastructure and earthenware jars that date back to the year 1612. The bodega’s owner is Víctor Paredes Salazar, who has great experience in producing quality Piscos. He was awarded first place in the Aromatic Pisco Variety competition during the 1997 National Pisco Competition, as well as his having received other numerous awards.

Parras y Reyes Bodega
Founded by Teófilo Parras Ascona, this bodega is located in the Chimba Alta Farm (via the Rayo landscapes) and is about 1 km from the city. This bodega stands out in regards to the production of Green Must Pisco and Aromatic Piscos. They also produce a delicious sweet wine called “Perfect for Love:” Borgoña. It has also received prizes on regional and national levels.

Zapata Bodega
Located along kilometer 1142 of the South Pan-American Highway (on the way to the city of Tacna), and at the Omo Farm some 6km from the city, this farm is the property of the Zapata family that has an unsurpassable quality of Moquegua Pisco with the brand name Pisco Zapata.

Biondi Bodega
It is located along kilometer 1143 of the South Pan-American Highway in the Omo Farm some 6.5km from the city. This bodega carefully follows traditional production and fermentation methods, which are necessary in order to obtain Piscos of the highest quality. This quality is seen in the pure and aromatic Piscos they produce, and which have national and international recognition.

Ghersi Bodega
Located along kilometer 1144 of the South Pan-American Highway, this typical colonial bodega has preserved the original alambiques and bottles used in the production of Piscos and Wines.

López Bodega
Located in the lower part of the valley, close to the South Pan-American Highway, in the San José Sector is the López Vargas Bodega. Currently they have new vine plantations, and produce pure and aromatic Piscos.

“Moquegua….Land of Sun and Tradition.”
The incomparably attractive farm landscapes with fruits, food crops and fields with good foraging for livestock demonstrate the excellent climate, soil fertility, the water quality and the goodness of the people of Moquegua. This excellent fruit producing valley was able to develop wineries as their principal economic activity during colonization, and at one point had more than 1,200 hectares in wine cultivation, which at the time supplied around 120 bodegas in the production of high quality wines and Piscos. This activity took place in different valleys around the country, but especially in the regions of Tacna, Moquegua, Arequipa, Ica and Lima. The wine cultivation was so successful that the products began to be exported back to Spain. Thus, producers in the Iberian Peninsula requested that King Phillip II prohibit said commerce, which it was in 1614. However, due to this restriction, grape firewater was intensely produced and exported through the port of Pisco, hence giving the beverage its name.

The different types of recognized Pisco are: Pure made from aromatic and non aromatic Pisco grapes, green must, and acholado.

Pisco bilingual magazine