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Wines of Chile goes west

Published:  23 July, 2008

BY Tim Atkin

WINES OF CHILE, the Chilean wine industry's generic outpost, closed its office on 31 December 2000 after nine years in the UK. The decision is the result of protracted negotiations between the government promotional office, ProChile, and the country's two producers groups, Vias de Chile and the smaller Chile VID. The withdrawal of ProChile's support and funding (which amounted to half of Wines of Chile's $400,000 annual budget) dealt a severe blow to the generic campaign, as did the closure of the Wines of Chile International offices in Santiago last September. But it was the producers groups which finally pulled the plug. Sue Pike, who has run the London office for the last six years, first as a dedicated trade organisation and, since 1997, through her public relations agency, Pike PR & Marketing, told Harpers that she was resigned to the decision. "Everyone thinks we've done a good job, including the wineries, but at the end of the day, some of the bigger producers wanted to implement their own strategies." The closure of the London office comes at the end of an extremely successful decade for Chilean wines in the UK. Exports have increased by 230% since 1995 and now represent four million cases.