Wines of Chile is to open a new US office in a bid to capitalise on consumers’ increasing thirst for more diverse styles of the country’s wines.

The New York office will be housed in the new Puro Chile complex, a combined retail space, showroom, event venue, business centre and art gallery designed to promote the country’s wine and tourism.

Chile’s bottled wine exports to the US were up 8% by volume and 15% by value in 2007, but figures for October last year showed that growth had slowed to 3.3% and 3.9% respectively as the US slid into recession.

However, consumers are drinking a more diverse range of Chilean wines beyond the country’s traditionally popular Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends.

Exports of Pinot Noir to the US increased 23% to October, while Sauvignon Blanc was up 22%, and Carmenère and Syrah rose 21% and 19% respectively.

Wines of Chile has hired drinks industry veteran Lori Tieszen to run the new office, working in conjunction with existing PR agency RF Binder Partners.

Tieszen is a former Moët Hennessy USA executive who has worked with a number of spirits brands, including J&B, Finlandia vodka and Sauza Tequila.

‘The US has become a top priority for the Chilean wine industry and we look forward to establishing a strong foothold in this very important market,’ said Juan A Somavia, managing director of Wines of Chile.

Tieszen added that Chile’s potential in the US was ‘enormous’

Written by Richard Woodard