Viña Maquis: Online sales surpass expectations

Ricardo Rivadeneira Hurtado, executive director and winemaker at Viña Maquis in Chile’s Colchagua, has said the company’s online sales through its new e-commerce site have surpassed all expectations.

Rivadeneira told the drinks business that the company had recently launched a new online store called Vinos de Origen, which sells wines from both Maquis and sister brand Calcu.

He said online sales have been better than anyone expected, particularly the volume of high-end wine sold. “We’ve been selling more than we ever dreamed of,” he said.

Maquis has recently reopened its cellar door shop after it was forced to close due to the pandemic.

“We were selling the most higher end wines there. But now we’re doing very well online, it’s amazing how much you can do,” Rivadeneira said.

Maquis currently sells 30% of its wines in the domestic market, with the remainder exported to top markets including the US, China, Brazil, Canada, the UK and continental Europe.

Rivadeneira said the winery, which is known for its Cabernet Franc, had been able to increase the volume of wine it sells through online retailers like wine.com and had also struck a deal with American wholesaler Costco.

“We’re down in the US, probably by around 10%, but not that much,” Rivadeneira said, adding that losses in the on-trade had been in part mitigated by growth in online sales.

Rivadeneira and chief winemaker Rodrigo Romero have each been doing two to three online tastings per week.

“It’s amazing the reach you have, you can be presenting to a group of 150 sommeliers,” Rivadeneira said. “It would be hard to achieve that if I was physically travelling to the UK or the US, it would be a huge event.”

In the vineyard, recent work has concentrated on creating diversity through cuttings of massal selection vines. Rivadeneira explained that the family had been able to recover old plant material after its vines were ripped up in the 1970s.

Together with consultant viticulturist Xavier Choné, Rivadeneira explains that the winery has been “doing our own selections of the massal selections”, including some vines that are earlier ripening and some that ripen later.

“It really helps with climate change,” he said. “It’s true that more often we have warmer vintages, but I really see it more as climate change in the sense that today you see more extremes. In 2011, for example, the harvest was cooler than most others in the last 50 years. Having selections that work well in different conditions is one of the main things that we’re trying to achieve here at Maquis.”

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