Chile recently brought its traveling wine show — an opportunity for sommeliers, restaurateurs and those in the wine industry to learn more about and taste Chilean wines — to Miami.
With $287 million of wine exports to the United States and $1.8 billion in wine exports to the world, Chile has established itself as one of the leading wine providers in the New World. Its goal is to export $3 billion worth of wine by 2020 and become the top wine producer in the Americas.
Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, Santiago Margozzini — a wine expert and winemaker — and 15 Chilean wineries took part in the late June event at the Conrad Hotel.
It was all in a day’s work for Fernanda Mondaca, deputy director of the Trade Commission of Chile (ProChile) office in Miami. From her Miami base, it’s her job to promote Chilean exports in Florida and 11 other western and southern states.
Chilean exports to South Florida are growing. Last year the Miami Customs District imported a record $1.54 billion worth of Chilean products — a nearly 24 percent increase — with fish fillets, corn, fresh fruit, gold and wine the most important purchases from Chile.
Food is one of Chile’s strong suits. It’s the world’s largest exporter of blueberries, fresh grapes, dried apples, plums, prunes, trout and Pacific salmon, and the second-largest supplier of avocados, frozen raspberries, walnuts and Atlantic salmon, according to ProChile.
The Miami district, which includes airports and seaports from Palm Beach County to Key West, is the top U.S. gateway for trade with Chile.
We recently asked Mondaca what it is like to promote Chilean products in the United States.
Chile has a very close trade relationship with Miami, and Chilean companies are interested in doing business with Miami and Florida, especially the wineries. You also have the most important wine distributors, and from here, you can hit all the East Coast.
One of the goals of Chilean wine companies is to get a position as a premium wine.
In March, we went to Europe — Moscow, Warsaw and Amsterdam. In Asia, we had Seoul and Tokyo. In Latin America, we will be going to Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
We do this annually. It’s one of the main tools we have to help the Chilean wine industry. Our wine is one of our most important ambassadors in the international market. Every year we work to find different destinations for the wine tour.
A. The main message is the industry’s goal of becoming the No. 1 producer of sensible and premium wines for the New World. We have to train the consumer about the wines, their competitiveness, their characteristics. First, they have to know we have premium wine.
Chile also has some of the largest organic wineries in the world.
Our main competitors are Argentina, Spain and Italy.
The United States is definitely the most important market for us in terms of agricultural products. But China is our No. 1 market because of our exports of copper and copper products.
We’re always trying to find new tools to help them. For the wines, it’s very important to try to find new restaurants for them. We try to do activities that will help the business relationship; we contact important importers and distributors to give them information on how they can work with Chilean wineries.
The other thing we do is discovering new Chilean products that can have an important presence here in Miami. We’re working on the IT sector and innovations.
Our main goal is always to be closer to customers and consumers to try to understand what they are looking for and then give that information to Chilean producers.
A. We’re working on gourmet products with value added — for example, jams, dried fruit, spices, tea, and, of course, ready-to-eat Chilean sea bass with different spices. But our problem is that our companies don’t produce enough of these products to export. We need to increase quantities. We’re working to find distributors who want the amounts that we do have available.