Chilean wine rising – this time it’s premium

Chilean worker picking grapes

Chile has always been a go-to country for good quality entry level wines, but now the premium end of the market is making a real impact. The UK topped the list of last year’s export figures for premium Chilean wine (£20+), with total sales up 4% on the previous year. Sales of wine under £20, on the other hand, fell by 3%.

It seems the British palate is tapping into some of the really exciting winemaking taking place in Chile at the moment. This is exemplified by the likes of Garage Wine Co, a cheeky nod to the Bordeaux garagistes, where everything is done by hand, from ploughing the old vineyards to painting the labels.

Sam Wheately of Pavement Vaults in York agrees, saying “the demographic we appeal to is professionals of 25 and upwards. This is a group who is really interested in wine, beers and cocktails. If you think about it, a glass of premium wine works out about the same as a good quality cocktail, so this group is more than happy to try something new and exciting at this price point.”

Sam also explains that the trend for ‘less but better’ is driving people to try new things and spend a bit more on something special. “If the quality is there, people are more than willing to pay for premium wines. Especially if they’re going out for a nice meal,” he says.

But while consumers are open-minded about trying something new, they won’t necessarily head straight for a premium Chilean wine on the wine list. For Gavin Hills at Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers, training is key to engaging staff to hand-sell these wines. A task made far easier by some of the great stories surrounding producers like Garage Wine Co.

“It has such a fabulous story. From the creation of wine in a garage, the hot water bottles surrounding the tanks on cool Chilean evenings, all the way to the recycled bottles, the labour, sweat and passion that Derek [Mossmann Knapp, founder of Garage Wine Co] makes so clear through the excitement in his voice,” says Gavin. Stories like these make it much easier to engage the staff, who in turn engage customers to try something new.

And it helps that the wines go brilliantly with food. “At Pavement Vaults we focus on top quality smoked meats. This kind of food goes perfectly with the Garage Carignan,” says Sam. And for Gavin, the wines work very well with the different flavours and styles on offer at the Hand and Flowers. “That’s why they have been a part of our by the glass line up for a number of years now,” he says.

To find out more about some of the exciting premium Chilean wines in our portfolio, contact us or your Account Manager.

4th April 2016

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