The microhistory of the wine industry in colonial Moquegua,
Peru, during the colonial period stretches from the sixteenth
through nineteenth centuries, yielding a wealth of information
about a broad range of fields, including early modern industry and
labor, viniculture practices, the cultural symbolism of alcohol
consumption, and the social history of an indigenous population.
Uniting these perspectives, Vintage Moquegua draws on
a trove of field research from more than 130 wineries in the
As Prudence Rice walked the remnants of wine haciendas and
interviewed Peruvians about preservation, she saw that numerous
colonial structures were being razed for development, making her
documentary work all the more crucial. Lying far from imperial
centers in pre-Hispanic and colonial times, the area was a nearly
forgotten administrative periphery on an agricultural frontier.
Spain was unable to supply the Peruvian viceroyalty with sufficient
wine for religious and secular purposes, leading colonists to
import and plant grapevines. The viniculture that flourished
produced millions of liters, most of it distilled into pisco
brandy. Summarizing archaeological data and interpreting it through
a variety of frameworks, Rice has created a three-hundred-year
story that speaks to a lost world and its inhabitants.
Subjects: Archaeology, History
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