Wine is the great Chilean “Ambassador” to the world; however, it has not been excluded from the global effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The US is one of the most important key markets for Chilean wine, but, as a result of the recent situation, the wine industry adapted its promotion strategies to the new reality.
Julio Alonso, the Executive Director of Wines of Chile USA, explains that the US is currently importing less wine than the pre-COVID outbreak, a fact that has affected all wine exporting countries. Confronted with this situation, Wines of Chile has responded focusing by supporting the distribution channels, as well as by developing and implementing strategies with a goal to create unique promotions that will result in successful initiates for Chile and to increase sales.
With regards to the Chilean supply, the Wines of Chile executive indicated that Chile has implemented a series of strict measures through regulating bodies such as the Agricultural and Livestock Service of Chile (SAG in Spanish). Fortunately, each vineyard has also implemented their own safety protocols for both its employees and for the products, which has allowed for the harvest to continue at 100% capacity. “It has been noted that the 2020 harvest was of a lower volume but high quality.”
The Wines of Chile representative in the USA also comments that Chile´s main challenges in the market is to increase the brand recognition. “The consumer has turned to local brands. In order to compete we need to advance in further promoting the characteristics of Chile as a producer and exporter of high-quality wines.” He adds that, “the only way to slow down this inertia is to work towards and agree on a common plan among all sectors to form a clear and uniform promotion strategy for the Country Image. This will require a well-organized, constant and well-financed efforts of all entities that share the same mission; not just Wines of Chile.”
One of those attributes and one that Chile has made a commitment to highlight, is the sustainability of its wine industry.” More than 80% of Chilean vineyards have received certifications of sustainability, which is used as an example throughout the world. This is the new motivating factor for post-COVID consumers.” Another US consumer trend is the increased dependence on e-commerce. “There has been a significant growth in e-commerce sales and now is the moment to enter into this space and improve the representation and market share of online Chilean wine sales.”
In the United States, you can purchase Chilean wines through channels such as: Wine Clubs, Wine Shops, Liquor Stores. Additionally, in certain States, bars and restaurants are authorized to sell wine for in-store pickup—which is creating new ways to sell wines.