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Finding its niche

Published:  23 July, 2008

Is Uruguay poised to become a major New World player in the UK market? Well, no. Even though the UK has been an important market for Uruguay historically, production is so small compared to other New World suppliers that major' is not a word ever likely to be used in the same sentence as wines of Uruguay'.

All very well, but will the wines fly in the world market, especially in the UK? Robert Pizante of Interglobe Food & Drink in London is working with Los Cerros to bring Uruguayan wines into the UK market. We see Uruguayan wines taking their place beside all other wines from almost all over the world present in the UK market due to their character,' he says.

For the past year, Wines of Uruguay has worked with the Wine Marketing Group of the University of South Australia to study the new image to consolidate Uruguay's image as a fine wine producer. Later this year a new strategy will be set in motion in conjunction with other Uruguayan export sectors like the meat industry and tourism. This could be an important step for Uruguay, focusing energy on the overall export picture, rather than a fragmented winery-by-winery approach.

However, in the end, the world is full of good wines with interesting stories to tell. What does Uruguay have to offer

that is any different from the rest? I put that question to Eliza Bouza, who, with her husband Juan, started Bouza winery

in 1998 on a ranch near Montevideo, the nation's capital.

She takes a sip of Bouza Albario and replies, The fantastic thing about Uruguay is that there are no rules. We can plant any variety we like anywhere we want to plant it. No one can tell us what to do; you know Latins don't like rules anyway. The wines can reflect the soil of the vineyards and the spirit and personality of the owners. In a world of McDonald's, in a world becoming more standardised every day, Uruguay is a different place.'