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Argentine vineyards ready to showcase top

Time:2019-10-16 13:06wine - Red wine life health Click:

vineyards ready showcase Argentine

by Victoria Arguello

CATAMARCA, Argentina, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Five Argentine wineries are preparing to showcase their top-tier wines at the upcoming second China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in November in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai.

The wineries -- Puesto del Marques, Quebrada de las Flechas, Puna, Las Mojarras and Hualfin -- are all located in northwest Argentina's Calchaqui Valley, where the high altitude and rugged terrain are ideal for producing aromatic, full-bodied Malbec and Torrontes varietals.

Wine experts Leandro Vera and Analia Basualdo, who are in charge of exports at the Puesto del Marques and Quebrada de las Flechas wineries, told Xinhua how the challenging environment can create a very special wine.

"Our wineries are among the highest in the world, going from 1,900 to 2,900 meters above sea level," they said.

"The geographic conditions are really quite adverse for the vines to grow. It requires a lot of effort, labor and investment. So for us, each of our grapes is a true gem, because a lot of effort went into making it," they said.

Vines grow in rocky soil, with scarce water and a climate that sees temperatures vary more than 20 degrees between day and night, occasionally plunging to below zero.

That's why oenologists, or winemakers, here must take special care to see their wines flourish, often using runoff from melted mountain ice and snow and no agricultural fertilizers.

The five wineries are forming a consortium that annually produces 8 million bottles of wine, and seeks to export 8 percent, or some 30 containers a year, to China.

Together, their output represents six brands and 30 labels made in the valley's provinces of Salta, Catamarca and La Rioja, including wines specially designed to appeal to Chinese palates.

"Many Chinese people have visited us and we have gone to them so they can learn about our wines and we can learn about their tastes," said Basualdo.

"We have some 18,000 liters of reserve adapted to the tastes of Chinese wine experts who we have had the chance to meet with," she added.

November's trip to the second CIIE will mark the sixth visit to China for the consortium, which is in permanent contact with Chinese importers and distributors.

The CIIE is an "opportunity to strengthen ties with these potential clients," she said.

At the first expo, "we were taken aback by the potential for doing business," said Basualdo, noting that's why this time they plan to go prepared.

"We realized we had to prepare ourselves this year to participate more actively," Basualdo said, adding "the CIIE is the most important marketing event of our proposed annual strategy."

China and Argentina have recently agreed to establish logistics centers in China to make it easier to respond quickly to orders, a move that should help market Argentine wines there.

Currently, Puesto del Marques and Quebrada de las Flechas have Malbec and Torrontes varieties available for sale in Shanghai as well as in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin and the southern southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Previously, "we could deliver the wines in 60 days," but all that has changed after the logistics centers were set up, Basualdo said. "Now, thanks to the hubs, we can practically deliver immediately."

"It is an enormous advantage that also brings our two countries closer together," she added.

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