Argentine Consumer Tastes Shifting Up to Premium Wine, Beer

Patrick Archer lifestyle, wine & vineyards

Argentine consumers are increasingly opting for premium wines and local palettes are rapidly shifting away from generics in favor of more sophisticated varietals from boutique vineyards and large production wineries alike.

InvestBA created the adjacent graph based on data provided by the CCR, and the numbers are staggering for a premium shift when much of the world is moving in the opposite direction.

Sales of Argentina’s icon varietal Malbec soared 122% since 2004 and now accounts for 22% of all wine sold in Argentina versus 10% just six years ago. In the process, Malbec dethroned Cabernet, formerly Argentina’s top varietal in 2006 which still accounts for 18% of sales. Like Malbec, Syrah sales posted an impressive triple-digit gain since 2004 (up 149%) while Merlot sales grew 73%.

The numbers are equally impressive when you group the wines by price categories: Medium price wine sales are up 158% since 2006, Medium-High up 131% and High sales are up 225%. Local demand for premium wines was evident by the masses that turned out for the annual Vinos de Lujo this month at the Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires and one week earlier at the Pullman Hotel in Rosario.

And market analysts say the premium preference is spilling over into the beer segment where premium beers sales are growing much faster than the industry average of 3% in Argentina. Premium brands like OtroMundo and Patagonia have carved out comfortable niches and loyal followings, while Grosa! will raise Argentina’s premium beer bar later this week.

The unique ale, aged 12-24 months in oak barrels previously used for Malbec, will come in two varieties, Grosa! (US$12) and Re-Grosa! (US$20). If this Premiumpalooza keeps up, BA may need to play host to a Cervezas de Lujo next year. (Full Story in Spanish)