Chile’s potential ‘threatened by mass production’
11th January, 2016 by Neal Baker
Chile’s hold on the British wine industry could slip because of the country’s focus on bulk wine production and increasingly hostile price wars, a leading producer has said.
Mario Pablo Silva, managing director of Viña Casa Silva (Photo: Viña Casa Silva)
Mario Pablo Silva, managing director of Viña Casa Silva, said that “competitive price wars and excessive mass production have threatened the potential of the Chilean wine industry” in the UK, the country’s largest export market.
The United Kingdom receives 23% of all Chilean wine exports, and makes up 17% of all value sales, according to the winery’s figures.
Silva also claimed that the dominance of Cabernet Sauvignon production in Chile is detrimental to other varieties such as Carmenere, which he identifies as having the most potential in new growing sites.
Since 2010, Viña Casa Silva has conducted research into the different terroirs present across Chile, identifying “excellent potential” for cool-coast wines and the Carmenere variety.
“Chile should be championing Carmenere over Cabernet Sauvignon, which currently has the biggest volume production,” he said.
“Chile has to identify its strengths, redefine the category and ensure we are only producing wines of quality.”
The UK imports nearly 900 million litres of wine every year, Silva said, meaning that Chile needs to offer its finest wines in order to compete most effectively.
Silva’s assessment comes Viña Casa Silva announces a new drive with its distributors in the UK to promote its premium wines in an effort to “ensure the longevity of Chilean wine in the UK”.