Consequently, soon those wineries started a production of a surplus to be sold outside the region. As a result, there was an early process of building external markets. Between the end of the sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, there was the opening and consolidating of trade routes. These early missions quickly were stabilized and formalized. As a result, in 1618 there was the first authorization for the entry of wines and spirits from Mendoza in Buenos Aires. Shortly thereafter, in 1624, the trade of Mendoza wine was extended until the markets of the governorate of Paraguay.
The routes and markets that were opened between 1580 and 1624 were consolidated in the following century. The average in the eighteenth century of foreign trade from Mendoza reached a rate of 90 shipments annually. By those means a transport capacity of about 250,000 litres was guaranteed.
Contrary to what has been repeated until exhaustion by the official history, before the arrival of the immigrants to Mendoza, there had been an important wine industry, with big wineries for the time, such as the winery Caracol, which in the decade of 1630 and with no more than 300 Spanish-Creole inhabitants, worked with a capacity of 30,000 litres. The progress of the city created the conditions for the expansion of the wine activity, when other important establishments emerged. Two good examples were the establishment of the Jesuits at the Hacienda Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje, and the wineries and vineyards of Don José Albino Gutiérrez. Both of them had constructions made with lime and bricks for the most delicate parts of the wineries. Besides, they used to have presses for crushing the grapes, a courtyard with stills to produce the spirits, and large cellars. The capacity of the winery of the Jesuits was bigger, since it could keep up to 100,000 litres whereas Don José Albino Gutierrez’s could keep 70,000 litres. However, the latter had a more modern system because its vessels were mainly made of wood, while the Jesuitical cellar still used the old leather and ceramic vessels. These wineries serve to demonstrate the significant development achieved by the wine industry of Mendoza before the arrival of European immigrants of the late nineteenth century.
The wine from Mendoza also had an important role in the national independence. It is enough to emphasize that San Martín chose the wine as food and energy source for the soldiers who had to cross the Andes and wage the decisive battles in Chile. In those years, many thought it was impossible to cross with an army of 5,000 men, loaded with arms and cannons, through the snow, cliffs and extremely low temperatures. Within the strategy planned by San Martín, the use of wine occupied an important place: he had set aside 113 mules to transport the wine, and thereby assure every soldier a bottle per day. In this feat, recognized in the world history, the wine from Mendoza provided a decisive service. The energy from the sun, captured by the grape grains, was delivered to the arms and the hearts of the patriots, to open the way for the new nations of the Americas.