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Talking About Bento Gonçalves

Bento Gonçalves is a municipality located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Created in 1875, it is one of centers of the italian immigration in Brazil. It is also known as the wine capital of Brazil due to its vineyards and wine production.

Before 1870, the area where the city is located was known as Cruzinha. In 1875, the Brazilian government created, in the state of RIo Grande do Sul, four settlements to receive Italian immigrants. In the Cruzinha area, a settlement was created called Dona Isabel (named after the Brazilian princess Isabel de Bragança). “Dona Isabel” received the first 25 families of Italian settlers in that same year. They mostly came from the region of Trento.

During the next few decades, the region was settled by immigrants coming mostly from the Italian regions of Veneto, Trentino and Lombardia.

In 1890, “Dona Isabel” was elevated to the category of city, changing its name to Bento Gonçalves (baned after military leader of the Regamuffin War).

The Italian immigrants mostly worked in grape and wine production.

During the first few decades of the 20th century, the city continued to receive immigrants. Besides the Italians, there were large groups of Polish, German, Swedish, French and Spanish immigrants. At that time, there were already some functioning wine factories and the furniture and metallurgic industry was just starting to take off.

The railways arrived at the city in 1919, helping to connect it with the capital of the state, Porto Alegre, and facilitating the transport of the city’s economic production. There were regular passenger trains running until 1976, however, today the railways are used mostly to transport goods.

In 1950, the population was 22,600. Industrial activity expanded, especially in the wine, furniture, leather, chemical, metal and mechanical sectors. In 1967, the city organized the first National Wine Festival (Fenavinho), receiving,  for the firts time, a visit from a Brazilian President.

The city started to organize and receive many important national and international events. It is now home to the second largest exposition park in Latin America. Among these events are the Movelsul (Furniture Fair), FIMMA Brasil (Furniture Machinery Fair), Vino Brazil (Wine Machinery Fair), Avaliação Nacional de Vinhos (Nation Wine Assessment), Fenavinho and Expobento (Commercial Fair).

The average elevation of Bento Gonçalves is 690 meters above the sea level. Summers are warm and winters are mild. During the climatic winter frosts are common and snow is rare. The highest temperature officially recorded in the city was 36°C and the lowest was -4,5°C.