Wine Law

Uruguay and Wine: Current Situation and Legal Framework Julio Facal 1 1. Background: Wine in Uruguay; 2. National Wine Institute (INAVI); 2.1. Powers and Duties; 3. Wine and Alcohol Level Legislation; 4. Conclusions. 1. BACKGROUND: WINE IN URUGUAY Uruguay is a country with a population of 3.4 million inhabitants, 176,215 km 2 , with a GDP of about 15,250 $ per person, an average life expectancy of 77 years and no illiteracy. Currently, wine is one of the country’s main products, and with an average of 3 million tourists per year, wine tourism is one of the country’s main attractions. However, this was not always the case, with the industry having undergone a strong reconversion in the last 30 years. That being so, there are, nowadays, 180 wineries, which translates into about 6300 hectares planted with vines throughout the national territory and 90 million kilos of grapes harvested annually. Accordingly, approximately 70 million litres of wine are produced annually, of which roughly 24.5 litres are consumed per person. The history of viticulture dates back to the 18 th century, when the vines were brought by Spanish immigrants from the Canary Islands, with the first Muscatel wine plants producing grapes for table consumption and family wine, a situation that lasted during most of the 19 th century. In 1870, immigrant Pascual Harriague brought, from the Madiran region of France, the Tannat grape, the precursor of one of the best grape varieties, which today is the wine par excellence of Uruguay. Nevertheless, a century would go by from Harriague’s introduction until there was a strong reconversion of this coupage , as well as other varieties that settled in our territory, the 1970s. Moreover, the creation of modern winemaking was born in the 20 th century, and it is only with the creation of the National Wine Institute (INAVI – Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura ) – a non-state public 1 University of the Republic of Uruguay.