Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The roots of Pisco itself reach back to the 1500s and stem from Colonial rule. The Spaniards brought the grape to the region from Europe, but the King of Spain banned wine in the 17th Century, forcing Peruvians to concoct a different kind of alcohol from the grape.
The black grape taken to Peru by the Spanish suffered due to its adaptation to soil and weather conditions in the province of Pisco, eventually stabilizing in a new variety named "Quebranta", purportedly named because the original grape was "broken" (Spanish quebrar), or tamed, for its new environment. Almost all early pisco was produced from this variety of grape. Others used any grape available at the time, however, since only the largest vineyards (and those with dedicated pisco distilleries) were able to produce exportable volume, Quebranta was the only variety exported, since it was the preferred grape for pisco production.