Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes intends to plant vines in Peru's Sacred Valley, near to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, to test the area's ability to produce wine.

Aurelio Montes is keen to experiment in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Image credit: Wikipedia / Charles Gadbois

Montes (pictured) told journalists at a dinner in London this week that the vineyard trial in Peru will begin next week.

‘We will plant five grape varieties to see how viticulture can progress there,’ Montes said, adding that the site, located in the Sacred Valley ‘on the way to Machu Picchu’ is around 3,000 metres above sea level. It is thought to be the first vineyard project in the area.

‘We are not sure whether the vines will live, but it’s good fun to try,’ said Montes. ‘We could have amazing results or we could rip all the vines out in two years.’

Peru had around 20,000 hectares of vines planted in 2012, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), which said plantings had more than doubled since the turn of the 21st Century.

Montes said he gained access to the Sacred Valley site by approaching the wealthy importer of his wines in Peru. The importer, whom he did not name, owns the land and has agreed to enter a joint-venture with Montes.

Montes will initially plant just 1,000 vines at the site, including Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay.

‘If we get a good result, we may plant five hectares,’ he said.

Meet Aurelio Montes at the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

  • Aurelio Montes will host a tasting of some Montes winery’s top wines, including Alpha M 1999, 2004 and 2009, at the inaugural Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter at the end of November. For more details, click here.

Written by Chris Mercer