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Brazil is South America's largest country with a rapidly growing population that now exceeds 150 million, and third-largest wine producer, with 58,000ha (143,000 acres) under vine. Brazil's winemaking history charted a different course from its South American neighbours, however, and in general the quality of the wines has lagged far behind.

The first vineyards were planted with Criolla brought from Argentina in the 17th century. The Portuguese later experimented with a variety of vines, but without success. Throughout most of Brazil the climate is too tropical for vinifera grapes to ripen fully and they have a tendency to rot and mildew. By the 1830s native North American varieties, which survived better in humid conditions, were being imported

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