CHILE continues its ascendancy as a leading “New World Wine” exporter adding a fabulous range of exciting new Fine Wines to its repertoire ,… to complement the more commercial wines,and this is likely to continue into the forceable future.
I attended a well organized PRO-CHILE Seminar Masterclass and Reception/Tastingwith Thai wine professionals,.. and some Chilean based Wine producers/representatives also present in Bangkok earlier this week.I need to mention that His Excellency Javier Becker, Chilean Ambassador to Thailand,..who is “obviously a passionate advocate of his countries wines” was also present and ensured the wines were showcased in good fashion and mingled with the keen afficianados and wine local wine trade.I think everyone was impressed with the diverse range of Fine Wines increasingly being produced which are now coming on stream in major export markets.
I must confess that I have lost touch with the Chilean wine sector so the Tasting of so many excellent wines/brands as Cremaschi Furloti, SIEGEL, Puenta Austral, Viu Manente,VIBO and Bottero,..was quite a revelation and it is something of a challenge to familiarise oneself further with the rapidly changing Chilean Fine Wine or Premium offering
According to Chilean Trade Commission figures *Chile export around 55 million cases per annum.. an increase of 25 million cases since 2004,..(as at 2014-15),.. at the same time Australia has lost its early ascendancy and has according to the Chilean figures,..dropped from approximately 60 million cases in 2004 down to approx. 36 million cases in 2014,.. a drop of almost half!?
*This is based on the approximate figures according to official Chilean statistics presented during the Masterclass section at the Landmark Hotel Bangkok.
However,..I am not convinced that these are the latest up to date figures ,..as there has been a resurgence in Australian exports in the last 2 years (and since the decline in the Australian dollar (to the low 70’s range) against the US$ dollar.I have been researching the latest figures according to the official Australian sources,..and their seems to be some ambiguity around these figures as Australian sources (Wine Australia) seem to quote their Export figures inAustralian dollars whilst the Chileans use US$ figures,..( Conversion of the Aussie dollar to US dollar figures (under current conversion rates),..reduces thetotal $ Value of Total Australian exports by more then 30% .
According to Wine Australia the figures show the value of exports rose 14 per cent to $2.1 billion in 2015 !!,…..and the value of Australian wine exports have reached their highest levels in almost 10 years.
However iff You convert this figure of 2.1 billion to US dollars rates then the actual figure in US Dollar terms is only US$1.56 billion clearly lagging behind the $US1.83 billion claimed by Chile!!!
**Any input from Experts or “Wine Intelligence” members,.. or relevant trade department officials on our network,.. would be welcome!?
So You may ask,..What are the reason for this signifcant trade turn around?
There has been a general growth in wine production from 291 million litres in 1995 to 1.287 million litres in 2013 according to Chilean statistics
According to Chilean figures they grew from 129 to 877 millions of litres and from a Total value of US$182 millions to US $1,834 millions between 1995 and 2015 over a twenty year period!
Why have Chilean exports risen so dramatically compared to Australia?…
Certainly one of the primary factors is that the Australian dollar rose to high levels on parity with the US dollar during the “China fuelled resources boom”. This effectively shut or slowed down commercial wine exports to the UK and US markets between 2010 and 2015 ,..(when the Australian dollar went into a spiral as did Coal and iron ore prices with the end of the building boom in China)
The rise of Chilean wine is marked by various factors that seem to have come together simultaneously!
During this period ,..(the last decade) CHILE has seen the following changes:
-European and western Influence and Foreign Investment in the Wine sector
-Modernization of Wineries in terms of plant and equipment and introduction of international vinification standards.
-Discovery or distinction between the previously confused Merlot and Carmenere grape varieties
-Rise and development of a high quality “Fine Wine” sector in Chile with higher value added.
-Education, Wine Magazine and Social media publicity,improved communications and education of wine sector personnel.
In addition the export trade has been fuelled by China’s insatiable demand for Wine!
Read this interesting extract from the FT!
“Following that deal, copper exports quickly turned China into Chile’s largest trading partner. Wine exports also surged, doubling within eight years. But most Chinese who drank Chilean wine were no more aware of where it came from than they were of the origin of the copper in their mobile phones.
That is because most of the Chilean product sold to China is “bulk wine”, a commodity, like copper.
Chile’s sunny, dry days and cool evenings create far more grape juice than the market for Chilean bottled wine can support. The excess is pumped into plastic bladders big enough to fit inside a shipping container and sent to China or Europe.”
“In addition industry executives now agree agree that the progress of Chile Wine exports is contingent on are higher shipments of fine wine , which during 2013 recorded a growth rate of 8%, totaling over $ 756 million.
The fine wine segment represented 52% of our countries exported wine export mix, unlike 2012, when they constituted only 49.5% of total shipments .
Mario Pablo Silva, General Manager of Viña Casa Silva and domestic market vice president of Wines of Chile explains that one of the objectives of the new 2020 strategic plan laid out in 2012 for the international market was to position the Chilean wine industry as a leading producer of premium wines from the New World!!!
“One of the goals was to move to (to respond and match)Australia. This confirms that the strategy that the wine industry took has been fruitful, and we’ve been walking on the path of increasing the average export price and maintaining a good value for money, but more focused on higher end wines, “explains Silva.
He added that Chile has developed a campaign based on the diversity in the corners of the country in which they can produce wines. “Chile is acting in the context of search quality, investing in research and development through the wine consortia. That has made the quality of wines go up steadily.!
*We acknowledge quotes from the FT