Riffaud: Chile needs premium wine boost

28 March, 2018

Chilean wine must move for the premium sector in order to retain its growing reputation, according to Emmanuel Riffaud, general manager at Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Maipo Chile.

Rothschild brand, Escudo Rojo exports the vast majority of its production and Riffaud joined DI at Prowein in Dusseldorf to discuss the challenges facing wines of Chile.

“We export 99% of our wine because the market in Chile is generally very cheap,” said Riffaud.

“The challenge for Chilean wines is that there is no middle ground. There are lots of cheap, value for money wines and there are also good quality ones, but now is the right time to go more premium.”

During a press conference previewing Vinexpo 2018, CEO Guillieme Deglise revealed that Spain in 2016 was the largest wine exporter followed by Italy, France and Australia. However the main growth is actually with Chile, which has had very strong sales in Asia. He said that the country has benefited from its free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea.”

Riffaud believes that it is important for Chilean wines to adapt whilst export opportunities are growing, otherwise it could cost Chile its reputation.

Riffaud added: “If the production of premium wines increases then so will the credentials of Chile. And that’s the key point, if producers continue making just cheap wines then it will be very difficult in the future because the economy of Chile is much similar to a European country than a South American one.

“It’s therefore predicted that costs of exporting will be much higher than in Peru or Columbia so if producers don’t move into the premium category, it will be very hard going forward to maintain the market and the image of Chile.”

Founded in 1999, Escudo Rojo is located at the Baron Philippe de Rothschild Maipo Chile bodega, 45km south of Santiago in the Maipo Valley, at its own 156-acre vineyard.

The premium brand has seven wines in its core range and Riffaud believes that Escudo Rojo would benefit from having more home competition.

Riffaud added: “We don’t have many competitors in our category which makes it difficult because when you’re on your own, it is much harder to create a strategy for the future.

“It’s also difficult for us in the UK because of the lower price points, for this next year we have big plans for the UK on-trade.”

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.