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Chile's wine industry looks to rebuild

2010-03-27 14:44 BJT

Special Report: 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile |


Colchagua Valley, some 200 kilometers south of Chile's capital Santiago, is the source of some of the country's top wines. A month after the earthquake rattled cellars, Vintners are looking towards a timely reconstruction.

It will take a while for local winemakers in this green valley to get back on track following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake on February the 27th. The quake damage in lost wine and battered equipment totaled around 300 million US dollars.

The damage was caused when wooden barrels and stainless steel vats tipped over. Winemaker Santiago Margozzini says it has taken a huge bite out of the nation's production this year.

Santiago Margozzini, Wine Maker, said, "We lost about 127 million liters of wine, which is almost the full consumption in Chile and 20 percent of the yearly total production. It's a huge loss and that is having a big impact on the prices of the wine and the prices of the grapes."

After the worldwide financial crisis and the tough struggle after the quake, Chile's wine industry now has its eye focused on recovery.

But the way to industry revival remains unclear. If Chile raises too much debt in foreign markets for the country's reconstruction, the exchange rate rebound of the peso currency will cut into profits for winemakers.

But there's also good news for Margozzini and his colleagues: the grapes held up fine on the vine during the quake. This year's harvest is moving forward as planned.

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