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News - 17.03.11

“Argentina is going in the right direction”

On March 1st, members of the Wine & Spirits Guild of America visited Wines of Argentina.

On March 1st, members of the Wine & Spirits Guild of America visited Wines of Argentina. The Guild has played a vital role in the growth of the nation’s alcoholic beverage industry. Comprised of independent retailers and multi-location, intra-state chains, it has about 40 primary members, doing business in states from New York to Alaska and Hawaii. Its members operate more than 500 stores, accumulating over USD 2 billion in annual sales.

For an entire day, Wines of Argentina coordinated a tasting, which took place at the Fernando Fader room in the Mendoza Sheraton Hotel. Over 30 buyers from this prestigious organization had the chance to taste wines from different regions, varieties and styles. The tasting was carried out as a wine fair in which representatives from several wineries answered their questions.

In the search for wines from small to medium wineries, Ken Lewis, president of the Wine & Spirits Guild of America, said that his group often visits the world’s major winemaking regions. This was a new opportunity for Argentina, since they took with them interesting new ideas about our production.

“The change and growth in quality that Argentina has experienced in the last 6 or 7 years is remarkable. As buyers, we tasted 300 wines from about 60 wineries in one day and found that the advances in quality and the diversity of products beyond Malbec were outstanding. It has been a fascinating experience for each of the members, and learning about what is being done has really opened up our minds,” Lewis explained. The businessman stated that “undoubtedly, Argentine wines can compete worldwide against wines from Napa, Bordeaux or Italy.”

Currently, all the members from the Wine & Spirits Guild of America trade Argentine wines. Although they sell “an enormous quantity of Malbec,” they also made this trip in order to look for new offers. They were particularly impressed by Malbec Reserve, Shiraz and the blends, “something that had not been out there in years. The work that wineries are doing today is very good.”

Lewis asserted: “We know all about 10-dollar wines; now we are trying to educate our customers on higher-end wines: we want them to be interested in 20-to-25-dollar Argentine wines.”

They saw Shiraz as a variety with a bright future and Torrontés as a variety with an interesting potential. Despite being a country with a vast winemaking experience, Argentina is also a relatively new country, and it is going in the right direction,” the Guild’s president said. He also added that consumers in the US do not know much about our white wines. “Argentina is doing a very good job in the US, particularly regarding promotion, even better than Australia, South Africa and Chile. If the country diversifies its efforts beyond Malbec, success will be guaranteed.”

During their four days in Mendoza, the visitors had the privilege of touring wineries which they termed as “amazing.” As a conclusion to their stay in this city, the association and its members will donate – in the framework of a humanitarian project – one dollar for every case of wine bought. That money will return to vineyard workers in the form of a school and a clinic in a nearby district, so as to “share the profits of the product.”