Viticulture in this continent was not established until the arrival of the Portuguese and Spanish conquistadores at the beginning of the 16th century (see the historical background also under the keyword New World). However, colonisation and thus the introduction of viticulture on the double continent began in Central America. The Spaniard Hernando Cortez (1485-1547) found native grape varieties when he arrived in Mexico in 1519, but the Aztecs were not familiar with making wine from them.
The first European vines were probably planted by Cortez. However, the year 1540 is mostly mentioned, when the historical Misión(Listán Prieto, in South America Criolla Chica, País etc.) was introduced by Spanish Franciscan monks. This variety and its many descendants are counted among the large group of Criollas. Further colonization took place from 1547 in Peru, from 1551 in Chile and from 1556 in Argentina. The rapid spread of viticulture was mainly due to religious motivation because of the need for wine for mass.
To some extent, there is also viticulture or at least the production of table grapes or raisins in the tropical regions. See under Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico (North America), Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. See further lists of wine-growing countries under Africa, Asia, Europe, New World, Tropics and USA, as well as under Wine Production Quantities.