Potential for organic Chilean wine

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Abstract:

The potential for extending organic wine production in Chile is discussed in relation to its history and present situation. The main objective is to present an overview of the production of organic wine in Chile, its certification, and national and international markets. During the wine harvesting season in March and April 2006, the authors visited and interviewed staff at four Chilean organic wineries. The wineries were all situated in the wine-producing centre of the country and were of variable sizes. One of the certification bodies in Chile was also interviewed. In addition to the field studies and interviews in Chile, various written information has been used. Second to Argentina, Chile is the country that produces most wine in Latin America. Vineyards cover a total of 110 000 hectares of the country's two million hectares of arable land. A study carried out in 2005 showed that 2000 hectares (almost 2%) of vineyards are organically cultivated. The organic production is operated by 32 different companies, which produce organic wine mainly for exportation to the international market. In Chile, the number of certified organic wine producers has increased in recent years in a trend directed by international demand and possible competitive advantages for Chilean wines. In order for a wine to be called 'organic' or 'wine made from organically grown grapes', the cultivation and final product must be approved by a certification company. In Chile there are three main active certification bodies; one national (Certificadora Chile Organico, CCO) and two international (the Swiss company IMO and the German company BCS). The study reveals a country with innovation and energy but facing strong pressures from the international market and its jungle of laws and directives, and the differing prestige of different certifications and labels. Chile as a wine-producing country has many competitors, and the production of organic wine could be a way to find diversity and exploit new market ground where environmental consideration concerns and sustainability are important targets.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09064710701834713

Affiliations: 1: Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden 2: Bio-Consulting Ltd, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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