The first vines in the region were planted by Franciscan monks, who found the soil and climate of the Tarija valley ideal for producing wine. During the colonial era Tarija produced much of the wine consumed in Potosí, as well as large quantities of singani, a fierce, roughly 40° proof, white-grape brandy that is extremely popular throughout Bolivia. Today, Tarija’s expanding wine industry produces well over two million litres of wine a year. Wine consumption within Bolivia is growing, and production techniques in the main bodegas have been modernized, with quality improving all the time. The main obstacle to further increases in production is the influx of contraband wine from Chile and Argentina, which is much cheaper than Bolivian wine, as no duty is paid on it.

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