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How Brazil managed to produce wine in the middle of the savannah

Typically seen as arid and inhospitable, the Cerrado tropical savannah region is now home to high-quality wine and coffee

wine brazil brasilia savannah exotic
Vinícola Brasília, or simply “Brasília Vineyard.” Photo: PAD-DF

Spread over 2 million square kilometers and encompassing 12 Brazilian states, the Cerrado is South America’s second-largest biome. Its name comes from the Portuguese word cerrar, meaning “to close,” in reference to the region being an “inhospitable, closed up space” that is hard to cross. For centuries, that is how this tropical savannah has been seen, but Brazil is beginning to find out that there is so much more to this vast expanse.

Far from inhospitable, the Cerrado is actually one of the Americas’ biggest regions, home to 5 percent of the world’s fauna and flora and the second-largest...

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