Argentina Surpasses Chile In U.S. Exports           

Head of Chilean Winery Association calls it a “fad” led by Malbec’s surging popularity.

For the very first time, Argentina is sending more wine to the United States than its neighbor, Chile, according to a new report from a leading Argentina-based wine consulting and market research firm.

In the report released in mid July by Caucasia Wine Thinking, which is based in Mendoza, Argentinean wineries shipped just over 3 million cases of wine to the U.S. between January 1 and May 31 of this year compared to 2.8 million cases for Chile. The value of these exports, says Caucasia, was roughly $97 million for Argentina compared to $78 million for Chile. Caucasia also reported that the per-case value of Argentina’s exports was approximately 18% higher than the average case cost for Chilean wine.

In response to the study’s assertions, René Merino, president of Wines of Chile, dismissed the findings, noting that they are largely based on Malbec’s recent gain in popularity. “Malbec is a fad,” said Merino, who surmised that 90% of what was sent to the U.S. during this five-month period was likely Malbec, whereas Malbec has traditionally accounted for only about 50% of overall Argentine exports.

However Patricio Reich of Bodega Renacer, which makes wine in both countries under the Punto Final label, called the findings “quite incredible.”

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