Vintage Moquegua: History, Wine, and Archaeology on a Colonial Peruvian Periphery
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 Moquegua Valley.
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.