NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WINES & SPIRITS
The Fourth Edition of this premier reference work
(...)"Peru is one of the oldest South American wine-producing countries, but is not one of the largest or most important. Vines have been grown in Peru at least since 1566, when Francisco de Carabantes planted some in the vicinity of Ica, an oasis south of the capital city of Lima.
The terrain and climate of Peru are such that it supports vines only in its suitably irrigated coastal regions. Tha snow-capped Andes are generally too cold and too rugged, and the northern part of the country is suitable for other types of cultivation, mining, and the rearing of livestock-especially the llama. Most of the vines are of European stock, and many wines are natural, both red and white, although some are fortified and modeled on Sherry, Port, and Madeira. One of the best grape varieties is Malbec. The table wines somewhat resemble the warm, vinous wines of Spain. 3,600 hectares (9,000 acres) of vineyard are found around Ica, where the famous Tacama Vineyard is located, 300 km south of Lima. It is a domain of 150 hectares. The wine is made by the most modern oenological methods under the supervision of Prof. Peynaud. It is entirely bottled at the vineyard. Tacama is a good example which hopefully will be followed by others.
While the Spanish population habitually drinks beer, wine is consumed on rare festive occasions. The Indians prefer chicha, brewed from corn and molasses, or one of the alcohols distilled in the country. The best of the Peruvian alcohols is the Pisco brandy (q.v.) which they distil from partially fermented Muscat wine. This brandy is the base of the Pisco sour, which is made with the white of an egg and Angostura bitters.