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The International Wine Industry
The Exchange Rates Works Their Magic: Argentine Exports Increase
Tuesday, 18th April, 2006  - Richard Farmer

"Today Argentina is seen as a country of the new world of winemaking . . . and its wines are very appetizing on the international markets" says Jose Alberto Zuccardi, director of the wine business started by his father in the 1950s.

Argentina is a relative newcomer to the world wine market having been handicapped for many years by an exchange rate pegged to the $US dollar when other primary producing nations were devaluing apace. The relativities changed when the pegging ended and exports are now up from less than 1% of production in the early 1990s to 16% today.

The Washington Post reported at the weekend that while Australia, France, the United States and even neighboring Chile still far outpace Argentina, more than $US1.5 billion in investments in the last 10 years to overhaul wineries and raise production standards -- coupled with a tightly focused marketing campaign -- was "producing an international buzz about this country's up-and-coming grapes."

Argentinaís Wine Institute reports that nearly $400 million in wines and grape juice concentrates were exported to more than 70 countries in 2005, the second record mark in a row after exports topped $305 million in 2004. Now, nearly 900 wineries in leafy vineyards all around Mendoza, about 640 miles west of Buenos Aires, and more than 300 wineries elsewhere in this big South American country are, said the Washington Post , exploring ways to create new blends for increasingly fickle and demanding wine drinkers the world over. They are also fine-tuning existing flagship reds such as Malbec, the varietal grape brought to Argentina by European immigrants in the 1880s that first put the country on the wine map years ago.

See David Farmerís report on a visit to Argentina here.

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