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Chile: Wineries resume business despite fresh tremors

Chilean wineries are beginning to resume normal operations following February's earthquake, despite constant aftershocks and tremors.

Following the devastating earthquake on 27 February, three separate tremors – measuring 6, 6.9 and 7.2 on the Richter sale – hit the country on 11 March.

Locals are reporting subsequent tremors still being felt across Chile.

Eduardo Chadwick, owner of Errazuriz, told decanter.com the latest tremors were not affecting the winery.

‘During the past days we have had some tremors in different regions, but their intensity is reducing.

‘We have resumed our export shipments, and have also started our 2010 harvest. There is a huge task in reconstruction but spirits are high.’

The earthquake – the strongest in 50 years – struck major wine regions to the south of the capital Santiago, with Maule and Bio Bio closest to the epicentre.

Several wineries have issued statements saying that as of this week, normal business is being resumed.

Carlos Serrano, export manager for Vina Montes, said ‘things in Chile are going back to normal very quickly.

‘In general terms there are very few that can say they have not suffered. Most did, but in different levels.

‘From the harvest standpoint, the tanks that were ready to receive the new grapes were not affected at all and we are ready to receive the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes in the next few days.’

With attentions turning to the impending 2010 harvest, wineries are left reflecting on the relatively small impact on winery personnel, thanks to the empty wineries on the morning of the quake.

Cristián Naretto, export director for Viña Pérez Cruz, said that now, two weeks since the earthquake, ‘we can say we have been very lucky.’

‘It has been a big disaster and a lot of people have been hurt with huge destruction to buildings, houses, and highways.

‘We still have a considerable number of aftershocks daily, but it is less and less. We are waiting for start of the harvest, at the begining of April.’

  • The Chilean Embassy in London has set up a bank account to receive donations to aid the Earthquake Appeal Fund.

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    Written by John Abbott

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