South American wineries continue to cash in on soccer legend Diego Maradona’s legendary status despite the footballer’s catastrophic health problems.

‘Divino 10’, the cabernet sauvignon named after the Argentinian footballer has experienced a massive increase in sales after the footballer was hospitalised last month, close to death.

The Chilean firm Huelquen winery has received over 500 orders from foreign clients via the internet.

‘We used to receive 100 orders but right now we work full time,’ said Eduardo Arevalo, director of the winery.

Arevalo said that the winery has a stock of 8,000 bottles at US$8 a bottle. The original 50,000 bottles were launched and sold in Chile during the Korea-Japan 2002 World Cup.

Another winery reaping the fruits of exploiting the idol’s name on the label is Argentine producer Raíces de Agrelo. Their new wine brand ‘Diego Armando Maradona’ is enjoying a commercial boom.

‘Sales in the domestic market have increased over 30% both in the premium and the classic varieties in the last few days,’ said María Marta Owsianik, exports and marketing manager at Raíces de Agrelo winery.

Raíces de Agrelo launched the wine abroad this week, shipping 21,600 bottles to Italy.

Diego Armando Maradona premium wine is a cabernet malbec blend, costing around US$4.50 a bottle. At the second stage, the project envisages the introduction of a classic edition (malbec) at around US$2.20 a bottle for next month.

‘The wine is entering the Mexican market next month and we have already closed dealings with Japan and the US,’ said Owsianik.

Written by Jaquelina Jimena