Global Grape: US Malbec Consumption Approaching Argentina Levels

Patrick Archer agribusiness, competitiveness, lifestyle, wine & vineyards

Yesterday, for the second consecutive year, celebrations were held in 45 cities and 36 countries to toast Argentina’s signature grape. For Argentine wine makers and exporters, a few toasts of gratitude must have been raised for US wine enthusiasts who now consume almost as much Malbec as Argentines, according to a new article in Cronista.

Nuria Rebon  charts Malbec’s meteoric rise: “In the last nine years, Malbec exports have grown 27.4x (from US$14.4 million in 2002 to US$394.4 million in 2011) to a level where today almost as much Malbec is consumed in the United States as in Argentina: 47.6 million liters in the US compared to 55.4 million in Argentina.”

Luigi Bosca director Alberto Arizu credits the US$1.5 billion invested over the last twenty years to improve winemaking in Argentina, of which one-third or US$500 million has gone toward improving Malbec production. Arizu says there were only 24,000 acres of Malbec being harvested in Argentina in 1995 compared to over 74,000 acres today.

While acreage tripled over the past seventeen years, Malbec’s phenomenal growth story lies in the annual growth rate in Malbec sales to international markets like the US, Canada, Brazil and China over the past decade: a whopping 44%. Today, Argentine Malbec accounts for 49.7% of international revenue and 33% of volume of Argentine wines sold abroad. (Full Story in Spanish)

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