Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chile's Rattling Wine Industry


When I heard the news of the Chilean earthquake my heart sank. At 8.8 magnitude, it is one of the strongest earthquakes the world has seen. My heart goes out to all of those effected and I hope the recovery process happens quickly and efficiently.

Being the wino that I am, I also thought about Chile's wine industry. Situated in the Southern Hemisphere means fall harvest will be starting soon. With reports of hundreds of thousand gallons of wine already lost in bottles and barrels, in addition to damage of winery facilities, I wonder how the wineries will recover? With the supply of past vintages destroyed and less equipment to deal with the upcoming harvest how will the wineries recover their loses and regain profits? Will there be less wine on the market and will that increase the price of Chilean wines? Will consumers stop buying current vintages, afraid that the wine will be a product of tragedy and just write off the vintage as a wash, especially at higher prices? I know, I will be buying more Chilean wine in order to support the industry and help the producers and grape growers get back on their feet. I hope that other consumers feel the same. Just because a significant portion of last years vintage was lost by uncontrollable circumstances doesn't mean the quality is any less.

Time will tell the real damage on the wineries and quantity of the upcoming vintage. I hope prices remain reasonable, (one of the factors that makes Chilean wine so appealing,) and consumers will continue to buy at the very least in the form of support.

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