Chile On My Mind – Damage Not Yet Clear For Wine Industry

I have been thinking about Chile nonstop since I heard the news about the dreadful earthquake that has claimed many hundreds of lives and wrecked havoc on the region near the city of Concepcion. On my trip last year to Chile, I spent consider time wandering around the wineries in that beautiful country and just loved it.

According to Twitter reports by the Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth, a number of wineries have sustained loss to inventory on account of the quake. Tyler Coleman also had a report on the industry on his well read blog,

On other sites, I read reports that Viu Manent, Montes, Casa Silva, and others may have had losses. All of the reports were unconfirmed. I visited two out of three of these wineries last year and find this news really heartbreaking.

Luckily, I haven’t seen a single news item that says the industry has had fatalities. While I am a wine lover, the most important loss here is obviously human life. More than 700 people have died according to the latest reports. Hopefully that number won’t climb.

As wine professionals of course, we all are concerned about the wine indsutry. It is quite distressing to think of all the work that has been destroyed and how many people are affected by the quake. Nature can be quite unforgiving but surely after the dust settles the Chilean wine industry will pick itself back up. The wine industry is quite resilient and the Chileans are a serious lot.

The Chilean fruit industry was also severely impacted by the quake. We will soon see just how much of the fruit we eat in the United States comes from Chile as prices begin to rise.

Apparently, in addition to loss of inventory, the two big issues now facing the industry now are the coming harvest and logistical problems. Will the harvest continue and if so how, vintners are asking themselves. The airport in Santiago is closed and the port in Valparaiso is still not cleared in terms of potential structural damage. We are still in a wait and see phase.

I have decided to write about Chile for the rest of the week and to support the industry by drinking only Chilean wine this week. I loved Chile as is clear from so many of my blog posts. I am optimistic that things will get better but saddened that they have been struck with this devastation. Chile on my mind.

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