Thursday, 06 August 2009

Chile’s wine exports rose over 22 percent in June, as compared to the previous year, a welcome spot of good news in a year that saw a slide in global demand, according to the industry group Vinos de Chile (Wines of Chile).

The level of bottled wine exports in June reached over 3.8 million crates, an average of US$25.93 per 12-bottle crate, totaling US$98.8 million worldwide. In June 2008, only 2.8 million crates were exported, at an average price of US$28.99 per case, totaling US$80.96 million worldwide.

June notwithstanding, year-to-date exports were down 4.4 percent compared to the previous year. Average prices, however, are higher at US$29.66 per case.

The July 2008 to June 2009 period, compared to the previous 12 months, saw a much smaller shift – a 1.5 percent increase in total revenue, a 5.7 percent drop in average price, but a 7.6 percent increase in total consumption.

The United Kingdom, the world’s largest importer of Chilean wine, imported 27.1 percent more by volume so far in 2009 than in the same time period in 2008, though for 7.1 percent less revenue, as the increased imports came with an average price drop of 26.9 percent, from US$25.51 to US$18.66.

During the same time periods the United States, the world’s second largest Chilean wine importer, had a 19 percent jump in imports, from almost 2.98 million crates to 3.54 million in 2009, accompanied with only a nine-cent average price decrease, from US$28.10 to US$28.01 per crate.

These numbers were indicative of the global market’s demand for cheaper wine, a result of the global economic crisis and the declining value of the dollar, the group said in a statement accompanying the June statistics.

“There has been a continuing tendency of a decreasing average price for bottled wine, an effect of the economic crisis on the exportation market,” said René Merino Blanco, president of Vinos de Chile.

“The dollar, meanwhile, has not shown improvement . . . Both factors are affecting the profitability of the industry, leaving the small and medium-sized businesses in a hard situation that could affect their future sustainability . . . Still, June’s positive numbers in volume and value make us think that our exports have begun to fill a niche that the economic crisis opened.”

By Daniel Zarchy (

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