Types of Costa Rican Wine

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    Local Fruit Wine

    • Although the popularity of wine is on the rise in Costa Rica, imported wines are expensive. There are some locally produced fruit wines made from such fruit as blackberries and a small, bitter fruit called nance, but these are more of a novelty item, and would not be seen as wine in the traditional sense. According to the website Info Costa Rica, the most memorable thing about Costa Rican fruit wines is the hangover. In rural areas, some locals produce a rustic wine called Vino de Coyol, a wine distilled from liquid that is collected on holes on the trunk of a spiny palm.

    Past Wine

    • Although some European expatriates living in Costa Rica have experimented with cultivating grapes in Costa Rica for wine production, none of their efforts have been successful. Reportedly, the Costa Rican government sponsored a modest effort to sponsor grape-growers in an attempt to create some type of national wine industry, but no viable wines were produced. If you do happen to see a bottle of wine said to originate from Costa Rica, it has likely low quality wine manufactured in Costa Rica using grape juice imported from Chile.

    New Frontier?

    • In Mach 2011, an article on The Drinks Business website outlined the plans of Napa Valley wine maker Kerry Damskey to produce wine from grapes grown at a high altitude in Costa Rica. At a height of 6,000 feet above sea level, Damskey felt the temperature may be too low to fully ripen the grapes, and planned to produce "amarone-style dessicated reds." As he explained, "Cost Rica has a large international presence and subsequently a niche market for domestic premium wines. If the project is successful, we are looking to produce 15,000 cases a year."

    Potential Varieties

    • Damskey noted his intentions to work with an Israeli flavor manufacturer based in Costa Rica, and will begin by planting such grape varieties as Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in December 2011. "The growing conditions are not dissimilar to my vineyards in Napa Valley, albeit higher," said Kerry. According to the article, construction of the winery is scheduled to begin in spring 2012; Kerry anticipates the winery will produce about 1,000 cases of wine after two years.

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