The Diaguitas had mastered extremely sophisticated farming techniques, which were improved by the influence of the conquering Incas, who descended upon their land from the North. These ancient agricultural traditions were applied to the care of the vineyards brought by the Spaniards, and to the production of wine.
Almost five hundred years later, from Tolombón (Salta), in the heart of the Tukmanao, our winery seeks to embrace the roots of the region with wines of unmistakable identity and unique characteristics.
Our vineyards are situated in the lands of the ancient Tukmanao, where the soil by the mountains is shallow, frank-sandy, stony, and with little organic matter. We enjoy over 320 days a year of diaphanous, clear skies, and an omnipresent sun which optimizes photosynthesis. The unique atmospheric temperature range of the region defies biology and produces a very sophisticated biotype in our vines. Radiant sunny days and cool nights safeguard the profound colors, the fragrances, and the intense flavor of our grapes.
The hydric stress causes our grapes to adapt and concentrate their flavor, fragrance, and color in the most remarkable way. Soft winds avoid the accumulation of humidity on the grapes, and the lack of rain inhibits the proliferation of fungi, thus allowing for fungicide- and insecticide-free farming. In our estates of Angastaco and Huacalera the crops are irrigated by a system of acequias, whereas in Tolombón by drip irrigation.
The weather conditions of these valleys and their awe-inspiring geology intensify the metabolism of the colorful and flavorful fruits its soils produce. Between two and three thousand years ago, in these very valleys, mankind became sedentary and learned how to work the land. Today, the provide one of the best environments for the production of unique types of grape.
The Great Diaguita Nation was a conglomerate of at least fifty different tribes named after the villages where they lived. They shared a common language, the kakán, which became extinct but not without leaving its traces in mountains, rivers, and cities. Some examples are Angastaco, Tolombón, Payogasta, Nonogasta, Aconquija, Lurutacao.
The Diaguita village had a particular style characterized by an organic design and rectangular houses built using the pirca method. Diaguita economy was purely based on nature; they were sedentary farmers, who also gathered the fruit of the Carob tree –or St. John's bread. Throughout the year they tended their llamas and alpacas, which gave them meat and wool for their textiles; they were proficient in the production of pottery and outstanding in the craft of metalworking.
The Diaguitas were proud defenders of their freedom and right to self-determination. For years they opposed the Inca domination and in the year 1561, led by Juan Calchaquí, they rose in arms against the Spaniards. The memory of their national hero forever resounds in the magnificent Calchaquí valleys that extend from Catamarca to Salta.
The Inca civilization reached its highest peak of development and power in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Inca empire, or Tahuantinsuyo, extended over two million square kilometers and had its capital in Cuzco. After a long period of resistance against the Inca invasion, the Diaguitas learned to enrich their own traditions and improve their farming techniques following Inca models. Some examples are the agricultural terraces on the side of mountains, which opened more farming land while preventing pluvial erosion of the soil, the acequias, communal watercourses used for irrigation, the production of natural fertilizers, and contraptions such as the tajila, a human-traction plow.
Although wild vineyards grew in several parts of the Americas, it was only after the arrival of the Spaniards that wine appeared in the new world. In 1493, during his second voyage, Christopher Columbus brought the first vineyards to the Antilles.
The climate in the Caribbean was not appropriate for that particular crop, but attempts to produce grapes for wine in southern regions were more successful. Vineyards were introduced in what is now our territory through the Calchaquí Valleys, where the Jesuits started cultivating some excellent strains of the vitis vinifera.
From then on, winemaking was always closely related to the spread of Christianity. Soon enough, the shipments of wine from Spain to celebrate mass became insufficient as the number of Christians in the Americas grew. It was then that American vineyards –most of them in the hands of priests- started proliferating, and eventually the production of wine became a staple also in farms.