This article examines the role of entrepreneurial women in colonial Mendoza, a trade and transport center characterized by wine production. In other economic activities, such as cattle raising and transportation, female ownership of the local means of productions was practically nonexistent. Women were increasingly important in the cultivation of vineyards and in the production and selling of wine in taverns and stores (pulperías). This development was brought about by three factors: first, Hispanic ideology allowed women a privileged space in the cultivation of vineyards, as is illustrated in Fray Luis de León’s La perfecta casada (1583). Second, as a transportation center, Mendoza had many men who worked as muleteers, on wagon trains, and on cattle drives; their extended absences generated greater responsibilities and independence for women. Third, the example set by the first taverns and wineries in Mendoza created models for other women to pursue. For all these reasons, women took advantage of opportunities in vineyards and taverns, thus advancing their own economic and mental emancipation. This study is based on unpublished documents in the Archivo Histórico de Mendoza and the Archivo Nacional in Santiago, Chile.

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