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Ríos: Organics is the way forward for Chile

With organic wines growing in popularity around the world, Cono Sur’s chief winemaker, Matías Ríos, believes an organic approach is the way forward for Chile.

The growing wellness and ‘clean’ wine trend is fuelling sales of organic wine from Chile in the UK. Sales of Cono Sur’s organic wine range are currently up by 50% at Sainsbury’s, with the wines proving particularly popular with eco-conscious consumers aged 25-44.

Launched this year, the range, which is enjoying success in Canada and Scandinavia, includes a Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec and a red blend.

To help flag up the range’s environmentally friendly credentials, the labels are printed on recycled paper and feature Cono Sur’s signature bicycle motif in green.

Cono Sur has increased its organic vineyard holdings to supply increasing demand. “Organic wines are growing in popularity around the world. It’s in our DNA to work this way as you end up with higher quality, better balanced wines,” Ríos told db.

“We are launching a Gran Reserva Organic Cabernet that reinforces our commitment to organic wines.

“Cosumers understand now that you don’t sacrifice quality with organic wines. My dream is for Cono Sur to be 100% certified organic – we’re getting there step by step.”

When it comes to sparkling wine in Chile, Ríos would like to see stricter regulations. “Japan is the biggest market for our traditional method sparkler, Centinela. Sparkling wine is growing in popularity a lot in Chile, but from a small base.

“I think we need one specific categroy for sparkling wine with a memorable name to help market it around the world. I’d like to see more regulations in terms of where it can be made and from which varieties,” he said.

“We’ve shown the world that we can make great entry level wines. The challenge for Chile now is to show consumers that we also make interesring, high quaity, ageworthy wines. It’s a slow road, but perecptions about Chilean wine are changing,” he added.

A sylistic shift Ríos has noticed in Chile recently is an increased use of larger format barrels and second use barrels to lessen the oak influence in the wines.

“In Chile we are looking to make wines with a good maturity but also fresh, expressive, lively wines that stand out for their delicacy. The intensity of the wood in the wines has decreased a lot and we’re seeing more use of foudres to highlight the fruit and delicacy of the wines,” he said.

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