Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The company’s export director was in London yesterday (May 24) addressing a group of city analysts.
Thomas Domeyko said the Fetzer brand remained a top 10 wine brand on the domestic US market. He admitted the brand had been neglected but the Bonterra brand was “healthy” and still posting growth.
He said Concha y Toro was delighted to have another a new origin of production and they were in the process of sorting out US distribution and were in the throes of assessing the brand, the winery and its output.
Concha y Toro represents 43% of Chilean wine sales and distributes to 135 countries. It employs more than 3,000 people of which 20% are Chilean. CyT grows 25 varieties in 50 company-owned vineyards in nine Chilean valleys. It owns 10,389 hectares, 8,800 in Chile, 1,134 in Argentina and 453ha in California. It claims to be the second largest wine company in the world after Treasury Wine Estates, with capacity for vinifying and cellaring 357 million litres of wine.
Domeyko said the company’s strategy of focusing on premium wines led by its Casillero del Diablo brand has resulted in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% from 2005 to 2011. Nearly 50% of CyT exports go to Europe with 16% going to the US. He said sales in Africa were starting to take off and the company has opened an office in South Africa to capitalise on that growing interest.
In 2010 Casillero del Diablo became the official wine of the world famous football club, Manchester United, sometimes nicknamed the ‘Red Devils’. Domeyko said the effect in Africa had been “awesome” and people in Chile and Argentina “went crazy for it”. Also, United has a huge fan base across Asia.
He said wine had become a “strong ambassador” for Chile as its other major exports, copper, salmon and timber, were not branded.
Recently Concha y Toro came first for the second year running in Drinks International’s ‘The World’s Most Admired Wines’ survey.