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Chile earthquake damage less than feared

Published:  04 March, 2010

Chile has lost 125 million litres of wine due to damage caused in the earthquake last Saturday, it has emerged.

But there have been no human casualties in the country's wine industry, according to Wine of Chile president René Merino. The impact on wineries is still being assessed.

Bulk, bottled and ageing wine have all been lost, the equivalent of just over 12% of what was produced in the 2009 vintage.

Merino said he was "certain" that "dispatches and compliance with commercial obligations will return to normal within a very short period of time and without major difficulties".

He added: "The damage to infrastructure varies among the different wineries and has not, as yet, been fully measured.

"The vineyards have not been affected, and we are waiting for electricity to be restored in order to determine the extent of damage to irrigation systems.

"Routine work has been reestablished-or will be shortly. Bottling lines are in generally good working condition, as are the cellars, which are already being repaired. The 2010 harvest has begun, and volumes should not be affected by the earthquake."

Merino thanked the international community for its messages of support. "We hope to continue to count on their solidarity and especially the understanding of our importers and distributors for unexpected delays which, in many cases, are beyond the control of the industry," he said.