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Chile needs to improve image

Published:  23 July, 2008

The message at the launch of The Wines of Chile, a new book by Peter Richards, was clear: Chile must overcome its cheap and cheerful image.

Speaking to Harpers at the launch, Richards said: Convincing the consumer that Chile isn't just a source of cheap fruity wine will be a hard task.' However, a strong peso is pushing even the Casillero del Diablos over the 5 barrier and encouraging people to trade up. Richards added that the on-trade also needs to be convinced that Chile can hold its own at the top-end, not just at house plonk level, and that getting the customer to understand "what is Chile" is essential to improving this image problem.

But Wines of Chile UK director Michael Cox believes it already stands out: Chile is discovering its identity - they have pure expression of fruit and an increased level of diversity,' he said. He added that consumers are struggling to get to grips with Australia's push for regional recognition and Chile is likely to have a hard time. Unlike Australia, said Cox, Chile lacks conviction in its ability: They are shy people and don't have the confidence to shout to the world about themselves. The country has potential but it needs to recognise it and with so much competition cannot afford to be so reserved.'

See next week's Harpers for coverage of a seminar on Chile and terroir.