Wines of Chile US Director Lori Tieszen kicked off the recent WoC-sponsored Sommelier Summit Seminar with some very good news. Despite the negative effects of the global economic crisis, sales of Chilean wine continue to be strong in the United States. While the wine market is down by 5% overall, Chilean wine sales are up 12% in volume and 8% in value.
The United States is now the Number 1 wine consumer in the world, and as such it is the key focus for Chilean wine exports. Wines of Chile recently opened an office in New York City to complement its London office and will participate in a new space dedicated to promoting the country’s image, Puro Chile, due to open its doors in July.
Difficult economic times does not mean that US consumers are drinking less. Some even say they are drinking more. But what they drink and where they drink it is changing. People are going out less and dining in more, so on-trade sales are down and off-trade is up.
Savvy consumers are paying more attention to how they spend their money and are more demanding about the quality they get for each dollar spent. They want more value for their money, and Chile has always had plenty to offer. There’s no doubt that a $20 Chilean wine can out-perform a same-priced wine from anyplace else on Earth.
Good news travels fast.
The thing about wine is that people enjoy talking about it. And as more wine drinkers take a new look at Chilean wine and like what they see, they’re telling their friends and spreading the news… which means that wine writers are writing more about it too. A lot, in fact; press on Chilean wine is up 45% in recent months, and that is very good news indeed!
As Tieszen so succinctly put it, “Value for money is what Americans want and that’s what Chile delivers.”