Argentina’s Emerging 1-2 Wine Punch: Malbec Surging, Torrontes Rising

Patrick Archer agribusiness, competitiveness, lifestyle, real estate, wine & vineyards

Argentina’s December wine export numbers are now available, so we finally have a figure for full-year 2010 exports of Argentine wine and grape juice: US$864.5 million, a healthy 12% increase over full-year 2009. Export volume rose 6.7% in December compared to 2009, while the total value of Argentine exports reached US$77.8 million, a 21% increase over December 2009.

The 2010 number edges out the US$860 million figure Argentina recorded in 2008, according to Los Andes’ Gabriela Malizia, who points out total volumes keep declining while the quality of wine exported keeps rising. Argentina’s total wine exports actually fell 6.7% in 2010, but the decrease was more than offset by increased revenue thanks to a more favorable product mix: more bottled wines, premium wines, sparking wines and fewer bulk wines and juices.

Malbec continues to be the signature grape rock star among Argentina’s exports, now accounting for 40.1% of all Argentine bottled wine exports (up from 34% in 2009), and the number one most preferred wine in 23 of Argentina’s Top 25 International Wine Markets (the Netherlands imports more Chardonnay and Paraguayans prefer red blends). In those 23 countries, Argentine Malbec typically enjoys market shares in excess of 30% like the United States (60%), Switzerland (48%), Mexico (47%) and Peru (37%).

With Malbec’s dominance in the universo tinto, the timing of Torrontes sudden splash on the world stage could be setting up the perfect one-two-red-white knockout combination for Argentina. Malizia says Torrontes was the second-fastest growing Argentine export in 2010, a trend that will continue in 2011 thanks to articles like Eric Asimov’s piece this week in the New York Times. (Full Article in Spanish)

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