Uruguay’s vineyards were planted primarily by Basque and Italian immigrants. The Basques displayed enthusiasm for Tannat and planted it widely, mostly on clay soils, which gave wines that were impressive, if not markedly full. As most of this production was for domestic consumption, rustic wines made from high-yielding vines presented few problems to producers. When, however, producers started to export, they found commercial success more elusive.
The majority of vineyards in Uruguay are planted in the Canelones region which surrounds the capital Montevideo. This coastal area has a warm maritime climate. The coastal breezes from the Atlantic temper what would otherwise be a relatively warm and humid growing environment. Bodega Garzón is located in Maldonado, the newest and most exciting vineyard area around 180 kilometres east of Montevideo and 18 kilometres inland from the coast. At around 170 metres above sea level, still within reach of the cooling sea breezes, and with gently rolling hills on ballast soils, this is the region that seems set to prove to a doubting world that Uruguay can produce wines to rival the best that are coming out of Chile and Argentina.