Stateways Sept-Oct 2014

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 51

StateWays Q Q September/October 2014 40 By Alia Akkam F or the Argentine wine industry, it mostly boils down to one word: Malbec. According to QW Wine Experts, a New York-based consulting fi rm specializing in imported wines, including the not-for-profi t organization Wines of Argentina, Ar- gentine wine exports to the U.S. have increased dramati- cally in the past 18 years, from a market share of 0.5% in 1995 to 8% in 2013. Says its president, Nora Favelukes, "During this period, its wine industry went through a bold transformation, stepping out of its comfort zone of producing wines for a huge and vibrant domestic market to exporting worldwide." As much of this revolution comes courtesy of visionary winemakers and sought-after brands like Trapiche, Bodega Catena Zapata and Achaval-Ferrer, Favelukes says much of the fanfare stems from the "magic of Malbec," the nation's star grape. "It is a story of being at the right time in the right place. As American consumers became more adventurous, Argentina's emblematic grape captured their senses with its purple hues, rich, ripe spicy aromas, fl avors of plums and dark cherries and its soft and sweet tannins — and of course, its great price/quality ratio." Today, she adds, the U.S. is Argentina's top market, representing 36.78% of their total exports. Malbec alone accounts for close to 5 million cases. Nick Ramkowsky, partner of importer Vine Connec- tions, remembers when their fi rst container of Malbec landed in 2000. "I would often have trade buyers men- tion, 'I don't need Argentine Malbec; I have Chilean Merlot.' How things have changed," he says. "Today, Malbec is synonymous with Argentina and Chilean Mer- lot is hard to fi nd. Most retailers had a South American section, where Chile and Argentina were mixed together. I would say the tipping point for Argentina was around 2005, 2006. That is when I noticed the consumer went from, 'What is Malbec?' to 'What Malbecs do you have?'' In terms of popularity, Alamos, imported from Argen- tina (Mendoza region) by E&J Gallo, is a consumer fa- vorite, selling 915,000 9-liter cases in the U.S. last year, most of them the Alamos Malbec. Part of the brand's ap- peal is its value price point, which usually comes in at under $10 a bottle. The brand also includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Red Blend (with 60% Malbec), a Chardon- nay and a Torrentes. Smaller in volume but increasing its visibility is Doña Paula Wines, also from Mendoza, Argentina. Imported into the U.S. by Trinchero Family Estates, Doña Paula features its Estate tier, with Malbec being its top-selling label. The brand's Estate portfolio includes three additional varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Torrontés) as well as Doña Paula 2012 Black Edition Red Blend, introduced earlier this year. The Red Blend is comprised of 60% Malbec, 37% Cab- ernet Sauvignon and 3% Petite Verdot, and is available nationally at a suggested retail price of $14.99. Chilean Makeover A lthough Argentina's wine growth has been impressive in a short amount of time, Chile is facing a differ- ent sort of challenge. Ramkowsky says Chilean wine has been a known entity since the 1990s, but primarily in the value sphere. "The efforts needed by Chile are to build a strong image between the $15-$30 retail category. These price points will allow smaller producers to fi nd a balance between needed margin and volumes," he adds. The country is doing just that. According to New York- based organization Wines of Chile, they exported a total of 16,276,600 cases to the U.S., making it the fourth largest Malbec and Carmenere American consumers are increasingly choosing wines from Argentina and Chile. Here's why. The Lands of

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Stateways - Stateways Sept-Oct 2014