Would you spend more than £50 on a Chilean wine? Well thanks to Eduardo Chadwick and his tireless work not only making iconic Chilean wine at Viña Errazuriz, but in promoting it around the world, it is finally appearing on premium UK wine lists and is in demand by UK brokers driven by his first 100 point rating.
Eduardo Chadwick on leading the drive for Chilean fine wine
The UK premium on-trade appears to have finally woken up to the opportunity and quality of Chilean fine wine, just at a time when allocations are becoming harder to come by as there is more and more demand from Asia.
Eduardo Chadwick, owner of Viña Errazuriz, and arguably the individual who has done the most to champion and promote Chilean fine wine around the world, told The Buyer he was finally pleased to see a larger number of premium UK wine brokers now on board with what they can offer.
But he warned the Asian market has stolen a march, and is where much of the focus for Chilean fine wine has been concentrated and where the real growth in the future will come from.
“We are seeing 15% to 20% growth in Asia, compared to a largely flat market in Europe and a nearly flat market in the United States,” he said.
China, he added, has already overtaken the UK as the number one market for Chile’s fine wine with Japan also enjoying strong growth. “Our wines suit the Asian palate. They are looking for elegance, finesse and balance.”
He predicted Asia would make up at least 50% of its fine wine sales within 10 years, if not sooner.
Errazuriz’s own position in Asia, and in key markets around the world, will be strengthened further by the news that the Wine Spectator’s James Suckling has awarded the first 100 points to a Chilean wine for its Viñedo Chadwick 2014.
This is clearly good news for Errazuriz, but, stressed Chadwick, it had also been welcomed by the wider Chilean wine industry as it would help promote its overall fine wine credentials. And particularly those of the Maipo Alto region where the Viñedo Chadwick wine is made.
The UK, he added, was still a massively important market for Chile in general and Errazuriz’s wider portfolio. “We sell 10 times more wine in the UK overall, but our icon wines do so much better in Asia.”
But it was satisfying to finally see some real traction from the key premium wine distributors and from prestigious on-trade accounts that are now actively seeking out its premium and fine wines like Sena. “We are seeing a breakthrough in the UK now with interest from all the main brokers.”
But that breakthrough, he conceded, has been a long time in coming, with a succession of comparative tastings over the last 10 to 15 years putting the fine wines of Chile, and Errazuriz, up against similar styles from around the world.
It all started with the inaugural Berlin tasting back in 2004 which was then followed with 22 similar events around the world and 10 vertical tastings for its Sena wine.
Chadwick first took these type of tastings to Asia and Hong Kong in 2008 and 2009. They really struck a chord with buyers and influencers across Asia and it has been on the back of those that it has been able to build and sustain a strong and growing following for its fine wines across the region.
Patrick McGrath, managing director of Hatch Mansfield, Errazuriz’s partners in the UK, admitted he wished he had taken up more allocations of Chadwick’s fine wine over the years. But was equally as encouraged by the new demand for the wines in the UK.
The wider issue for Chile, he stressed, was that outside of Errazuriz there were not many other icon and true fine wines from Chile for the category to really build wider growth. But it was still very much a step by step process.
Literally in Chadwick and McGrath’s case as they had to rush, on foot, to catch up with one of the key brokers they hoped would still be keen to take their allocation of their fine Chilean wine.