How Did Malbec Become The Identity of Argentina ?

People often think that Malbec was born in Argentina. However,  Malbec originates from France and was introduced in Argentina in 1868. Let’s explore the journey of this iconic variety!


Malbec is almost like the national emblem of Argentina. In fact, Malbec has now become a synonym for the country. 

In 1868, Malbec was first planted in Argentina by Michel Pouget. The climate, landscape and the incredible work of Argentine winemakers enabled this variety to find its place in the world. The amount of Malbec planted in Argentina has since varied.


Evolution of Malbec

In 1962, the area of Malbec reached about 58,000 ha  (22.5% of the total vines in Argentina). However, the fate of Malbec production completely changed between 1962 and 1995. Shockingly, 83% of the total Malbec area was eradicated with only about 10,000 ha of its plantation left.

Since then, thanks to the work of great winemakers, enologists and agronomists Malbec initiated its comeback. It started meeting the demands of both national consumers, who usually require greater quantity, and the foreign consumers, who require greater quality.



The upward trend of the demand for Malbec has increased its production area and it just doesn’t seem to stop. In fact, it has been the most planted grape in Argentina for some years. In 2018, there were 42,999 ha, which represents 19,7% of the total vines in the country.


Malbec volume compared to other varieties.

Malbec volume compared to other varieties.


Malbec has also evolved in the area of exports. After some crisis that Argentina went through in the 90s, the exports of qualified wines started growing. Today, the numbers are sustained.


Export evolution of Malbec

Export evolution of Malbec


Malbec plays a key role in the growth due to the demand, increasing popularity and wine quality. Since 2004,  Malbec has incremented more than any other varietal in exports.


Evolution of Malbec % compared with other varieties.

Evolution of Malbec % compared with other varieties.


Malbec, America’s favorite

According to the data obtained in 2018, Argentina exported Malbec to 123 countries, but out of the total, 81% was divided into 9 countries, being the USA the top consumer with 36,2% (or 389,920 Hl).


Export Details of Argentine Malbec

Export Details of Argentine Malbec

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World competitors

Even though Malbec is the most exported wine from Argentina, it still has to compete with different wine varieties of the world.  On one side, it has to compete against wine with similar characteristics, and, on the other, against renowned varieties from different world regions. Its biggest competitors are-

  • Australia: Syrah
  • Chile: Carmenere
  • South Africa. Pinotage
  • USA: Zinfandel
  • Uruguay: Tannat


Malbec has found a home in Argentina. It depicts an outstanding journey and has played a key role in introducing Argentine wine to the world. Additionally, it has helped to spread the word about Argentine culture: traditional asados (barbeques), mate, Tango… or even Messi. Today, Malbec has become a part of the identity of Argentina.

Pablo Ponce


Winemaker graduated at Don Bosco school, wine communicator and editor of the blog

He used to work, from 2005 to 2013, in different wineries in Mendoza, participating in the technical area of elaboration, microbiology, fractionation and quality control. Some of them are La Rural, Familia Zuccardi, Escorihuela Gascón and Finca La Celia. In parallel, since 2010, he began his career as wine communicator. In 2012 he created his blog “The Big Wine Theory” and since then he has collaborated with several digital channels.
He currently works as Wine Communicator of Bodega Gimenez Riili and is responsible for the content management for social networks of Santa Julia Winery, Cassone Family Winery, Benegas Winery, Clos de Chacras Winery, Compuertas Negras Winery, Arpex Argentina and Wine Institute (where he also works as a teacher).


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