Translated by Simone Zarmati Diament, www.southfloridagourmet.com

Alberto Arizu, owner of Luigi Bosca Winery in Argentina, has been appointed chairman of Wines of Argentina , an association of Argentine wineries and exporters.Listen to an interview with Alberto Arizu on FOOD & WINE TALK

 In an interview with La Nación,Argentina, he explains the position of Argentine wine in the world and what are the challenges for the next two years.

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What is the possition of Argentine wines abroad today?

Argentina is in great shape and has a strong position in key markets like the United States. Argentine wines were able to gain ground in the US because of the economic crisis, as a result of  which U.S. consumers were reluctant to buy high-priced European wines. We were offering a high quality product at reasonable prices.

We  are launching a major study of international markets, to assess how the brand Argentina  is positioned in markets where it is not as well established and recognized as in the  U.S., Japan, England or China.

Will Argentina continue to promote the Malbec or will it be opening the game to other varieties?

Argentina has not only found in  Malbec a wonderful and a great wine, but it represents Argentina.  Thanks to Malbec,  the world associates quality with that variety; and this has been essential  to position our country.   Probably Malbec will go on carrying  the message for  many more years,  but I think Argentina should begin now (and in fact we are doing so) to explore other categories and varieties of wines. We have to show that our country has a great capacity for diversity and a great range of standards.

However, our  Malbec will continue to be the standard bearer of Argentina. We must keep up the prestige it has acquired and we have to keep working. Other countries are jumping on the bandwagon:  incredibly, one of them is France. Therefore while we mustn’t  lose focus on something that has given us so much prestige, we mustn’t waste an opportunity to communicate the other assets that Argentina can offer to international consumers.

From the existing brand Argentina how do you plan to promote the fact that the country has different  terroirs?

This is one of the main issues we are beginning to research, based on the study of recognition in each country. Already, there are markets where the brand Argentina is well recognized enough to begin to move to the next level, which is to promote  the attributes of other terroirs. Ours is a country with a great diversity of soils and climates, it is a long corridor on the mountain range of Los Andes, which has many thousands of kilometers, which means a difference of latitudes and significant temperature variations that match the main wine production centers in the world.  This is a  great treasure, Argentina has to communicate the attributes that occur within these regions.

The consumer knows Mendoza, Salta, La Rioja, San Juan, Neuquén, Catamarca ... What's next then? Today, talking about Mendoza to wine connaisseurs is not enough. Mendoza is region that has five well-defined oases.  And in each of these oases are small subregions which are also well defined. So when one speaks of Malbec, one must ask from what area? This warrants a thorough study, which we have already begun. The Denomination of Origin Lujan de Cuyo anticipated this in 1989.

So you aim at a more sophisticated communication in every market ... ?

Deeper rather than more sophisticated.  To explain that each region is a world in itself and that both the latitudes and altitudes give the wines certain characteristics. This is what we want to communicate.  We have to let people know that a variety in a certain region has different characteristics than the same variety in another region.

Your mandate is for two years.  What would you like to achieve from here to 2012?

I hope that in the next two years we will be the fifth main wine exporting country. Today we are ninth, if we get to be the seventh or perhaps the sixth, that too would be a major step towards the goal.

Wines of Argentina is a tool, but we are all accountable because all of us are winemakers and entrepreneurs. Argentina will go on to improve its international position to the extent that our offer will get  better and better. The goal is to reach 2 billion dollars in bottled wine, against 600 million we have today. We have to create a good brand and export value.

 

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