Chilean Wine Industry leads on Genetic Rescue Vines and Technology challenges
July 14, 2016

Although the Chilean wine industry is ranked at the 4th place worldwide and the first new world wine exporter, due to the agriculture movement to new production areas and continues climate challenges, the national leader industry began to concern about of the challenges that wine industry needs to face due to the extension of the wine frontier and the commercial gaps of the wineries.

This process will be focusing in taking care of the territory identity and the new cropping areas in the south, coast and mountains. In fact, since February 2016 and after several prior months of research and coordination, it was launched the "Strategic node Chile Vitivinícola 2.0", which is a private-public initiative supported by CORFO (Chilean Economic Development Agency), where a broad spectrum of actors can identify gaps and technological constraints and issues of the wine industry, for the purpose of generating guidelines for advancing the development of the future actions in wine business.

The Strategic node Chile Vitivinícola 2.0 is focused in four main challenges: a) Climate Change (adaptation to effects and border agriculture), b) Development of New Products (production and market development), and c) Genetic Safeguarding (heritage, varieties and rootstocks), and d) National promotion and marketing image.

The work has been focused in creating a methodology for generating concrete actions, based on diagnosis and a specific project through this initiative to reinforce the industry and determining the priorities that need to be addressed. Chile is currently the fourth exporter wines country in the world, and the next step is to be the first leading wines new world exporter into the first ranked markets, to do so, it is crucial several high technology challenges due to the wine plantation frontier extension towards the South, the Coast and the mountains cropping areas, due to the long period climate change effects on the South Hemisphere.

Considering the ChileVitivinícola 2.0 strategic node is a joint effort project heading up by Vinos de Chile, national association that holds over 80 wineries of Chile. The expected impact is having a great response in the patrimonial vineyards and genetic material in the central and south of Chile, and this is why the target territory covering from Maule to Aysen Region, over 1.600 km south of Santiago, where has been able to coordinate the actions with over 200 wine grapes and small and medium size wineries to participate in the business and discussion groups.

In a certain way, Araucania Region is the latest area that has established vineyards of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay over the last 10 years; however, it was found several plants of varieties like Pais, Moscatel de Alejandría varieties during the research project.

BioBio and Maule, it is the most traditional old winery regions, where it can be found large extensions of Pais, Moscatel de Alejandria, Corinto, Cinsault and Carignan varieties. Currently, BioBio concentrates the production of “base wine” for sparkling wine of several central valley wineries due to the high quality of grapes in the region. The local challenge is to become a worldwide sparkling producer with fine winegrape varieties, and based on patrimonial vines like Pais, Cinsault and Moscatel as well, besides the destilled wine recovery production like it has been done with the Grapa in Italy.

Maximiliano Morales, agronomist in charge of leading the initiative says: “Due to the rescue of winegrapes projects in several areas of the South of Chile, an unique territory was found with 140 years old Malbec vines at San Rosendo location in the BioBio Region. This is creating a big expectation among the industry actors, because there was found productive vines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc which will be studied, propagated and evaluated in the short term the processing and commercial potential”

Patricia Fuentes Bórquez, CORFO´s Senior Agricultural Advisor, outlined very encouraged conclusions about the wide participation of the winery companies, academic, research and private sectors in the activities of the ChileVitivinicola 2.0 Node has been going through. At the end of the workshop roadmapping, the industry needs to build a common approach and to identify the forward market moves and those critical variables to develop a new export wines industry in the next 5-10 years.

Chile Vitivinícola 2.0 has considered several activities like international seminars, regional workshops, and business meetings, coming together over than 200 professionals and technical like viticulturists, enologists, researchers, academics, wine industry associations, entrepreneurs and executives of different public agencies to define the Roadmap for the Chilean Wine Industry. 

Among the global and national excellence institutions, the strategic node Chile Vitivinícola 2.0 is working in joint efforts with UC Davis Chile - Life Sciences Innovation Center, Fraunhofer Chile, INIA (Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias), R&D Consortium Wines of Chile and the Agricultural Innovation Agency by the Ministry of Agriculture.

During the past Seminar “Viticulture with no boundaries: Climate Change and Commercialization” was performed in Santiago, where important speakers like: Francisco Meza, Ph.D. , Global Change Atmospheric Sciences, PUC will share “Climate Risk, Viticulture Development towards 2050”; Álvaro Castro Ph.D., Genetic Coordinator and Molecular Genetics and Genomics of UC Davis - Chile Life Sciences Innovation Center presented about “Technology frontier for Viticulture”, Cristián Muñoz, Commercial Engineer showed up a business presentation “Ultra Premium Wines: Branding and Strategic Markets”, and Claudio Cilveti from Vinos de Chile that talked about the global situation of the wine industry.

The second Seminar “Rescue Vine and Extreme Terroir for Winemaking” was celebrated in Concepción, leading by the Italian rescue vine specialist, Ettore Del Lupo, and the winemaker of Clos de Fous, Francois Massoc, in joint conversation with Pedro Parra, Chilean Terroir Specialist, plus INIA investigators, Irina Diaz, and Patricio Hinrichsen.

In the next couple of weeks, the final report will be released with the conclusions and Road Map of the Chilean Wine Industry to move forward with the challenges the world has.

info@chilevitivinicola.cl