Chile Goes Upmarket

In a world that is moving to premiumization, Chile’s largest wine company is focusing on its Sauvignon Blanc.

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Photo: Wines of Chile
Photo: Wines of Chile

The launch last week in London by Concha y Toro of its Colchagua Casillero de Diablo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc coincided with the Chilean giant’s announcement that more than half its sales now are made up of its premium brands.

This is particularly noteworthy both for a company of the size of CyT, and for a producer based in a South American country that has historically been associated with wines whose attraction has often been associated with value for money.

The new wine which joins a best-selling entry-level example of the same variety also reflects an ambition to compete on level terms with New Zealand, especially in the UK, a key market for both New World countries.

CyT research has found that, while New Zealand has become firmly associated with premium Sauvignon Blanc, when short harvests limit availability consumers are happy to switch to bottles from other countries - especially Chile.

Concha y Toro may be the largest Chilean wine company, but its success in trading up is shared by a number of its competitors and contributing to impressive recent export growth by the national wine industry as a whole. Read more in an interview with Concha y Toro that focuses specifically on its efforts.

In this Newsletter, our interview with Angelica Valenzuela offers an insight into where the Chilean industry is doing best and reveals the role played by factors such as the shift to bulk shipment and the imposition by China of  harsh tariffs.

Next week, we will continue to explore some of these themes with an analysis of how Sauvignon Blanc became by far the most popular grape variety in the UK – by volume and value.

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