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Chilean wineries embrace pan-Andean neighbours

In a significant South American development, two major Chilean brands are incorporating Argentinian wines in their range from the 2006 vintage.

Both Santa Carolina – under its Antares brand – and Misiones de Rengo will be including a Mendoza Malbec 2006 within their ranges.

Although this is not an unprecedented move – San Pedro used an Argentinian Malbec in its Gato Negro range in the 2005 vintage – it is being seen as a sign of things to come, as the pan-Andean winemaking trend gains momentum.

‘It’s a big step, but we’re talking about South America, not just Chile,’ Santa Carolina head winemaker Sven Bruchfeld told decanter.com. ‘We don’t want to encourage any loss of Chilean identity but we can have global brands. Who drew the line in the middle of the Andes anyway?’

Antares is having its label strap-line changed from The Southern Star of Chile to The Southern Star.

Chilean wineries are no strangers to their trans-Andean neighbours. Wineries such as Concha y Toro (Trivento), Santa Rita (Doña Paula), San Pedro (Finca la Celia) and Montes (Kaiken) all have Argentine operations, with investments prompted by the country’s economic crisis five years ago which gave increased purchasing power to foreign investors

Chilean producers are keen to position themselves in the Argentinian wine export market as the sector is expected to see significant growth in the future. Argentina is the world’s fifth largest wine producer but has lagged behind Chile in targeting exports, partly due to strong domestic demand.

Written by Peter Richards

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