Wines of Chile Annual Assembly

This year’s Annual Assembly started with the signing of a contract between Wines of Chile and Fundacion Imagin Pais to continue working together to promote Chile’s culture and share its wine around the globe. With this in mind, the rest of the Assembly reflected on Chile’s past year in the industry and looked towards the years to come.

Mario Pablo Silva and Claudio Cilveti welcomed everyone to the meeting and Cilveti took a brief look at Chile’s positioning in the market as of 2015. “We have many important markets that we need to grown and defend, and what we need to continue developing is our storytelling of Chilean wine to the rest of the world,” summarised Cilveti. “We have great prime material, and we have an interesting story to share with the world.”

The first market analysis came from the Canada offices from Ted Kalaboukis and Alana Dickson. In Ontario the year was filled with pop up tasting bars, big tastings and the Canada Sommelier Contest – all of which Wines of Chile took a big part in. A particular promotion that stood out was a ‘Fall in Love with Chile’ campaign in February, which saw 11,000 people participate and triple in sales of Chilean wine during the campaign. Quebec also saw many tastings and professional masterclasses, as well as a ‘wine truck’ mobile tasting. Only being July, Quebec still had upcoming events in the next few months with flash promotions and a new loyalty card being launched. If you want more details on upcoming Chilean wine events in Ontario and Quebec contact Ted Kalaboukis at ted@androscom.com.

Alana Dickson, who represents Wines of Chile in Western Canada, showed the main changes in the different main markets in the region. British Columbia she explained had seen a big shift recently, where more opportunities were becoming available due to a new freedom in pricing. Chile had grown by one percent in their market share and also pricing over the last year. Manitoba was a specific focus point for Chile this year, as Chile was the theme country for their big wine fair. “We need a long term wine strategy and we need to make everyone aware of what great varieties Chile has,” Dickson urged wineries to show off their new wines and products. “Chile is exciting and you can see how excited consumers are getting.” Another upcoming event that she urged members to take part in is the Wines of Chile Sommelier Challenge: where top sommeliers battle it out to make the best Chilean food and wine pairings in a live evening competition. “We need to improve Chile’s country image, and take chances!” To contact Alana Dickson, you can email her at alana@ccltd.ca.

Moving a bit further down the Americas, Marybeth Bentwood presented for the US. Although the average wine consumption is dropping in the US, there is an opportunity in the US as the Under $10USD category is losing ground and Bentwood recommended a real push on trying to grow in the Premium category. Bentwood discussed the situation in the US with ‘radical reds’, where the sweet-tooth US palate is steadily drinking sweeter wines – despite many people claiming not to drink sweet wine. “If you look at the American profile for wines, they are looking for a lot of fruit.”

As well as discussing opportunities in wine, Bentwood also talked about the marketing opportunities in the US, especially pushing single varieties. “My proposal is that we focus, and we are bold and swift. As much as diversity reflects your category, the American consumer doesn’t walk into a wine store and buy a bottle of diversity – they buy a bottle of Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.” Bentwood highlighted some events over the last year: tastings, seminars, dinners, promotions, and wine festivals. The highlight was of course #WineBarWar, in 2014 and 2015: a pop up wine bar competition that received great international acclaim and has been prized as one of the best marketing campaigns of the year. Bentwood urged more people in the industry to try and be more creative with their campaigns and take part in the exciting marketing plans with Wines of Chile USA in the future. You can reach the Wines of Chile USA office at mbentwood@winesofchile.org.

WOC JulioThe next office to present their report at the Assembly was Julio Alonso, head of Wines of Chile Asia, which is the newest office – opening in 2014 in Shanghai. “We realised that China is a focus and an opportunity,” commented Alonso. In the last year, they have developed tastings and masterclasses with some of the most influential wine communicators in Asia, as well as fun events such as a Wine Casino. Events have been held in many different parts of China – including some of the lesser known areas in the interior of the country – and Hong Kong. “This year we have had 26 vineyards participating in China, and we hope that next year we will have more. We already have a physical office in China – so when you come, you are very welcome and we hope to be a support for your business ventures there.”

Perhaps one of their greatest upcoming activities Alonso is introducing in this new market is their Wines of Chile Academy where they will be teaching consumers and professionals about wine and Chile. While education is a focus in the China market, Alonso commented that in the last two years there has been a big change in the market – that many Chinese people are beginning to drink wine at home, and it has moved beyond the realm of just gifts. This, according to Alonso, is a great opportunity to grow there. To find out more about upcoming events in Asia and being part of the adventure of introducing Chilean wine there, contact Julio Alonso at jalonso@winesofchile.org.

The next to report from Wines of Chile was Claudia Soler, Planning and Research Manager. Reporting on the focus on social networks and communications in all the different markets, Soler talked about their growing following and impact in Asia, Brazil and the US. As well as investing in advertising in different social networks, Wines of Chile has been focusing on publishing in selected media outlets too. Another announcement is that the upcoming Wines of Chile Awards would be held in Shanghai this year, and be held every two years in different markets. Asia is also going to be the focus for this year’s Magical Mystery Tour which has invited journalists from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. For more details on upcoming events you can contact Claudia Soler on csoler@winesofchile.org.

Alessandra Casolato was next to present from Wines of Chile Brazil. After analysing the market in Brazil, where Chile has a strong position but must continue to work hard to promote itself there and especially grow brands, she looked at the opportunities for Chilean wineries to participate in more activities in Brazil. “We are the strongest market in Brazil, but we cannot be too relaxed about it – we always need to be present. Brazil is a big country – almost the size of a continent, and so we have a lot of work ahead to reach everyone.” Casolato spoke about some of the biggest events in Brazil that are important to be present in, like Expovinis Brazil and many of their masterclasses, but also the smaller details – like the importance of working on social networks and in particular evoking emotions with emojis. Last year Brazil was a special focus for Wines of Chile as it was host of the Wines of Chile Awards at the end of last year, which was still having an impact in local media. To participate in more upcoming events this week, contact Alessandra Casolato on alessandra.casolato@ch2a.com.br.

WOC AnitaNext to present was Anita Jackson, representing one of Chile’s historically most important markets – the UK. Starting with an analysis of the market, Jackson commented that although the UK market is going through some downturns, Chile has seen a small growth this year which is positive news despite difficulties. Growing sales channels are through online wine stores, as the majority of wine is consumed in the home, which Jackson identified as an opportunity for Chilean wine sales. Another opportunity is education: “We’ve been doing lots of research over the last year, and we could see that education is an area that people wanted us to reach to consumers though,” said Jackson who later explained all the many educational activities that took place in the UK this year with masterclasses for educators, press and consumers.

Another big event and push for Wines of Chile UK this year was their WineBarWar, following the success of the events in the USA. In the UK, the sommelier battle to make a pop up bar was created at Imbibe Live – a busy trade fair in London where they had 1500 visitors to the stand participating. Another event to look forward to in London this year is Mercado Andino – a special trade fair combined with Wines of Argentina. This is followed by the Mercado Chileno, a two day wine tasting and food event led by Three Wine Men which will create more of a buzz for Chilean wine in September. Looking forward to 2016, there are many more planned education seminars, the next Wine Bar War, Sommelier Chile Challenge and London trade fair. If you want to get in touch with the UK office to learn about upcoming events contact Anita Jackson at anita@winesofchile.org.uk.

The last presentation was Alvaro Arriagada presenting on the European Fairs. In Holland this year, Wines of Chile held special events around Prowine. There are still many other events upcoming in Helsinki, Amsterdam and Ireland in September. For 2016, Arriagada commented that he wanted to focus on Germany, the Netherlands and either Switzerland or Russia. Maria Jose Araneda also reported on the participation of Chilean wineries in European fairs including Prowine with the special wine boat where press and trade were invited to an evening of wine pairing. To contact Alvaro Arriagada about the European markets please email aarriagada@winesofchile.org.

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