South America within the world of wine: Has its time come?
We have always thought from a European point of view that we are the “center” of the world of wine. Evidently, the three major producing countries (France, Italy and Spain) are here and, together with Portugal and Greece, have dominated the markets and set the rules for decades.
Add to that the fact that the primary wine consumers were the United Kingdom, Benelux, the Nordic Countries and Central Europe, then the wine business was a European business: of Europeans and for Europeans. At best, the US was taken into consideration due to its size and potential.
It was not so long ago that South Hemisphere wines, thanks to their ties with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, entered the European market with a bang: unrestricted oenology, blatant marketing and aggressive pricing. Wines from the “New World” were a subject of discussion, yet the presence of South American wines was scarce.
The two most relevant countries (Argentina and Chile) witnessed two distinct situations –and I insist that I’m writing about the past–: Chile elaborated good wines of international style oriented towards the US market, whilst Argentina was one step behind in terms of quality and strove to promote the Malbec as the national grape variety. Other countries such as Uruguay, with lower production, closely observed.
These two divergent paths have ended up being parallel routes and both countries have become two great wine producers. Thus, the moment for strengthening their presence both in traditional markets and in emerging ones has come. Hence, their constant presence in fairs, such as the World Bulk Wine Exhibition, where valued speakers coming from South American countries participate, such as The Art of Blending Wine, in which they will prove –in a practical way– the possibilities of wines from the Southern Cone of America.