International trade

Chile increases exports of fine wines 19% from Jan-May 2011

Total exports of wines with a registered denomination of origin - a mark of quality recognized in international markets - exceeded US$500 million in the five-month period.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011  
Grape picking in Chile's Colchagua Valley. Grape picking in Chile's Colchagua Valley.

Long known for value more than premium quality, Chile has now firmly established itself as an important producer of some of the new world’s finest wines. This change is reflected in new statistics released by the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa) announcing a 19 percent increase in exports of fine wines between January and May of 2011 over the same period in 2010.

Exports of Chilean wines with a registered denomination of origin – a mark of quality recognized in international markets – rose to a total of nearly US$504 million between January and May. The volume of fine wines exported has also increased, rising by 151 million liters (about 40 million gallons) in the same five month period.

"The sector is not just increasing its exports, but also seeing an increase in prices,” said Director of Odepa, Gustavo Rojas. “This year we expect to reach US$1.4 billion in exports of wines with a denomination of origin. This represents more than 80 percent of the total of US$1.73 billion that we have predicted for total exports of wines and grape juices,” he continued.

The average export price rose to US$3.33 per liter (or US$30 per box of 12 bottles), a 9.2 percent increase over the same period last year.

The five most popular wines for export represented the five most common grapes grown in Chile’s wine valleys; Cabernet Sauvignon sold in the greatest volume, bringing in US$119 million, followed by Sauvignon Blanc (US$56.9 million), Chardonnay (US$46.7 million), Merlot (US46.6 million), and Carmenere (US$33 million).

The largest importers of these wines around the world were the United Kingdom (15%)and the United States (14%), followed by the Netherlands (7%), Japan, Canada and Brazil (6% each), China and Denmark (4% each), and Germany and Ireland (3% each).

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