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Chilean winemaker builds on its prestigious legacy

By Karl Cryer
-    Jul 20, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

With its world-class quality, Chilean wine has grown increasingly popular around the world. In fact, in 2015, the South American country overtook France as the top exporter of wine.

Exemplifying the best of Chile’s wines, Viña Los Vascos has made a huge impact in Asia, which accounts for 47% of its annual revenue. But in Japan, known for its discriminating customers, sales are much lower.

While Japanese have a strong drinking culture, as seen by their love of sake, beer and whiskey, CEO Claudio Naranjo pointed out that wine hasn’t captured the country’s taste. But, he wants to change that.

Naranjo believes that wine may grow more popular among Japanese if they know of its health benefits. Prices of Chilean wine in Japan have also grown more affordable, thanks the 2007 free trade agreement that reduced tariffs on the product.

“We’re targeting the millennials in Japan. The Japanese youth have different tastes than those of 50-year-olds. We want Japanese to try our wine and combine them with their cuisine,” Naranjo said.

Viña Los Vascos is also capitalizing on its partnership with Japanese brewing and distilling giant Suntory that goes back more than 25 years.

Aside from Suntory, the winemaker has also benefitted from its ties with Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which bought the estate in 1988. The French winemaker has continued investing in the vineyards and facilities of Viña Los Vascos.

“Our work of today will last for two or three generations. That is shown in the investment in water, in land and in our plantations that may not been seen today,” Naranjo said.

 Chateau Lafite Rothschild has more than 230 labels, with the United States, Germany and Switzerland being its largest markets.

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