What is PiPA and Paraje Altamira all about? Last week I met up with Finca Suarez winemaker Juanfa Suarez for a wine tasting session and asked him to clarify what the Productores Independientes de Paraje Altamira (Independent Producers from Paraje Altamira) movement is about and how the Paraje Altamira GI developed. Here’s a video highlight from our live stream interview:
PiPA is a one of the first movements of its kind in Argentina which is quite fitting considering Paraje Altamira was very much the first GI of its kind in Argentina too. Check out the full interview with Juanfa to understand more about PiPA, Paraje Altamira and Finca Suarez.
What PiPA and Paraje Altamira are all about: Interview transcript
Amanda Barnes: Ok, let’s move onto the red and let’s talk about PiPA. So what does P I P A stand for?
Juanfa Suarez: PiPA stands for Productores Independientes de Paraje Altamira, which is Independent Producers from Paraje Altamira.
Fantastic, now before we talk about the Productores Independientes, or Independent Producers, which I think is the obvious part, what is Paraje Altamira? Because for someone who might drink these wines abroad, you might get used to seeing Altamira on the label, and now we start to see Paraje Altamira on the label. So can you explain a bit the development, of how Paraje Altamira appeared, and what does Paraje mean in Spanish?
Paraje Altamira is for me, and for everybody, is a landmark in Argentinean viticulture because it is the first IG… we have the IG since 2013. It’s the first IG delineated … (this is the third wine!) delineated by terroir concepts and not by old, political boundaries.
So previously, all the appellations or the Geographical Indications were always political.
Altamira is the first really done by terroir facts. Soil, exposures, temperature, so that’s what makes it very interesting. Because it was the first one, we had lots of problems.
Yeah, big companies wanted to have a huge Altamira. I don’t want to talk badly about that because it’s done, it was a lot of suffering because we were seeing that they were doing this wrong, and now we have a reasonable Altamira.
And it’s difficult, because Altamira became very well known as a wine region without actually having a geographical indication and it became famous for producing these excellent quality wines. So everyone wants to be part of Altamira. So it’s understandable that it was a tough process…
This dispute made Altamira, like ‘woah! why are they all fighting about this? what’s happening?’ It made it even more famous! No publicity is bad publicity! Yeah, but well it was the first IG, process of terroir facts IG, and now it’s great that we learned about the experience and for example now they are putting other IGs together with everybody on the table working together so we don’t have these problems.
So it was a little harsh, but it was good because now we are doing it better. The new IGs like Chacayes, Gualtallary, San Pablo, which are the highest parts of the Uco Valley, and I think the more interesting sites. Now we are working together, as a society, so it’s very good – it’s nice.