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Chile: massive planting forecast

Chile will have to increase plantings by 50% over the next eight years in order to keep up with demand for its wines, a new study shows.

Figures published by the Chilean government suggest by 2014 Chile will be exporting over 10m hl of wine, out of annual production of 12.9m hl, at a value of over £900m (US$1.8bn).

In order to supply such projected growth, a minimum of 67,000ha will need to be planted. The country had 112,056ha of vineyard in 2004.

This would be startling growth for a country whose production was in decline until 1995, when it hit a low of 3.1m hl.

In the early 1990s, Chile exported between around a quarter of its production. By 2004 this situation had undergone a complete reversal and exports accounted for nearly three quarters of production.

This has, however, left the industry at the mercy of the currency fluctuations, a situation that has become severe in recent months with a weak dollar and strong peso.

The figures were published as part of Chilean Agriculture 2014, a study carried out by Odepa, the Chilean government’s agricultural research department.

They represent a so-called ‘high hypothesis’, based on an annual growth rate of 8% in both volume and value. The ‘low hypothesis’, calculated on an annual growth rate of 5%, would see an annual production of 10.4m hl and exports of 7.6m hl at £680m (US$1.36bn).

As a point of comparison, the Odepa report identified the value of wine exports in 2003 for significant producing countries as follows: Chile (US$670m), Australia (US$1.5bn), France (US$6.5bn).

‘The new world has acquired incredible momentum and its success will continue,’ René Merino, director of the Chilevid exporters association, told decanter.com. ‘In Chile we must keep expanding and showing we’re capable of much more.’

Written by Peter Richards

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